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Why are women living longer than men?

Vilma Santora (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. What's the main reason women are more likely to live longer than men? And why the advantage has grown in the past? The evidence is sketchy and we only have limited answers. We know that behavioral, biological and صبغ الشعر بالاسود environmental factors contribute to the fact that women have longer lives than men, However, we're not sure how strong the relative contribution of each factor is.

Independently of the exact number of pounds, we know that a large portion of the reason women live longer than men and not in the past, is to be due to the fact that some key non-biological factors have changed. These variables are evolving. 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 above the line of parity diagonally. This implies that a baby girl from any country can expect to live longer than her brother.

The chart above shows that the advantage of women exists everywhere, the country-specific differences are huge. In Russia women are 10 years older than men. In Bhutan the gap is just 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 gender advantage in life expectancy has changed over time. The chart below shows men and صبغ الشعر بالاسود women's life expectancies at birth in the US from 1790 to 2014. Two points stand out.

There is an upward trend: Men and women in the US live a lot, much longer today than a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

The second is that there is an increasing gap: The female advantage in life expectancy used to be quite small however it increased dramatically in the past century.

If you select the option "Change country by country' in the chart, you are able to confirm that the two points are applicable to the other countries with available data: Sweden, France and the UK.6 months ago