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Why women are more likely to live 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 have a longer life span than men? What is the reason is this difference growing as time passes? The evidence isn't conclusive and we have only partial answers. We know there are biological, behavioral as well as environmental factors which play a significant role in the longevity of women over males, we aren't sure how much each one contributes.

2 years agoIn spite of the precise weight, we know that at least a portion of the reason women live longer than men in the present however not as in the past, has to be due to the fact that some important non-biological aspects have changed. What are the factors that are changing? Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. Other are more complicated. 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, تحاميل مهبلية 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 every country is above the diagonal line of parity - this means that in all countries a newborn girl can expect to live for longer than a newborn boy.1

This graph shows that although there is a women's advantage everywhere, cross-country differences are often significant. In Russia women have a longer life span than men; in Bhutan the gap is just half each year.

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In rich countries the women's advantage in longevity was previously smaller.
Let's examine how the female advantage in life expectancy has changed over time. The next chart plots male and female life expectancy when they were born in the US during the time period between 1790 and 2014. Two aspects stand out.

The first is that there is an upward trend. Men and women living in America are living longer than they were 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

The gap is getting wider: Although the female advantage in life expectancy was tiny, it has increased substantially over time.

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