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Why do women live longer than men?

Rusty Hincks (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? The evidence is limited and we only have limited answers. Although we know that there are behavioral, biological as well as environmental factors which all play a part in women living longer than males, we aren't sure how much each factor contributes.

It is known that women live longer than males, العاب زوجية regardless of weight. But it is not because of certain non-biological aspects have changed. What are these factors that have changed? Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. There are others that are more intricate. For 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. We can see that all countries are over the diagonal line of parity. This implies that a baby girl in every country can anticipate to live longer than her brother.

This graph shows that even though women enjoy an advantage in all countries, the differences across countries can be significant. In Russia women live 10 years longer than men, while in Bhutan the difference is just half a year.

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The female advantage in life expectancy was smaller in developed countries than it is now.
We will now examine how the gender advantage in longevity has changed with time. The following chart shows the men and women's life expectancies at the birth in the US between 1790 to 2014. Two points stand out.

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

There is an increase in the gap between men and women: female advantage in life expectancy used to be very modest but it increased substantially over the last century.

If you select the option "Change country in the chart, you will be able to determine if these two points are applicable to the other countries having available information: Sweden, France and the UK.