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Why women are more likely to live longer than men?

Merlin Dunstan (2022-04-19)


Everywhere in the world women live longer than men - but this was not always the case. The available data from rich countries shows that women didn't live longer than men in the 19th century. Why do women live longer than men and why does this benefit increase over time? We only have a few clues and the evidence is not sufficient to reach an absolute conclusion. We know that biological, behavioral and environmental factors all contribute to the fact that women have longer lives than men, however, we do not know how significant the impact of each of these factors is.

In spite of the amount, we can say that at a minimum, the reason women live longer than men in the present, زيوت تطويل الشعر but not in the past, is to do with the fact that several significant non-biological elements have changed. What are these factors that have changed? Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. Other are more complicated. For زيوت تطويل الشعر example, there is evidence that in rich countries the female advantage increased in part because infectious diseases used to affect women disproportionately a century ago, so advances in medicine that reduced the long-term health burden from infectious diseases, especially for survivors, ended up raising women's longevity disproportionately.

Everywhere in the world women tend to live longer than men
The first chart below shows life expectancy at birth for men and women. It is clear that every country is over the diagonal line of parity. This implies that a baby girl from every country could be expected to live for longer than her older brother.

It is interesting to note that the advantage of women exists across all countries, the cross-country differences are large. In Russia women live 10 years more than males. In Bhutan the difference is less that half a year.

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The advantage women had in life expectancy was much lower in countries with higher incomes as compared to the present.
Let's look at how the advantage of women in longevity has changed over time. The following chart shows the male and female life expectancies at the time of birth in the US between 1790 to 2014. Two points stand out.

The first is that there is an upward trend. Men and women living in America are living longer than they used to a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

Second, the gap is increasing: While the female advantage in life expectancy was once very small however, it has grown significantly with time.

By selecting 'Change Country from the chart, you can confirm that the two points are also applicable to other countries that have available information: Sweden, France and the UK.