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Why do women have longer lives than men?

Lona Talbott (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 so more than men do today and why does this benefit increase in the past? There is only limited evidence and the evidence is not sufficient to draw a definitive conclusion. We recognize that biological, behavioral and environmental factors play a role in the fact that women are healthier than men; However, we're not sure how significant the impact of each factor is.

It is known that women are living longer than men, regardless of their weight. However it is not due to the fact that certain biological factors have changed. These are the factors that are changing. Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. There are other issues 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. As you can see, all countries are above the diagonal parity line , this means that in all countries a newborn girl can expect to live for longer than a newborn boy.1

The chart below shows that although there is a women's advantage throughout the world, ابر التخسيس the differences between countries can be significant. In Russia women live 10 years longer than males; while in Bhutan the difference is less than half each year.

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In rich countries the advantage of women in longevity was previously smaller.
Let's examine how the female longevity advantage has changed over time. The following chart shows the male and female life expectancies at the time of birth in the US in the years 1790 to 2014. Two distinct points stand out.

The first is that there is an upward trend. Men as well as women in the US live a lot, much longer than they did 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

Second, there's an ever-widening gap: female advantage in life expectancy used be very small however, it has increased significantly over the course of the last century.

It is possible to verify that these principles are also applicable to other countries that have data by selecting the "Change country" option in the chart. This includes the UK, France, and Sweden.