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Why women are more likely to live longer 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 more than men do today and why is this difference growing over time? The evidence isn't conclusive and we're left with only some solutions. Although we know that there are biological, psychological as well as environmental factors that all play a role in the longevity of women over men, we do not know the extent to which each factor plays a role.

It is known that women are living longer than males, regardless of weight. However, this is not due to the fact that certain non-biological aspects have changed. These factors are changing. Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. There are others that are more intricate. 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, زيوت تطويل الشعر 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 line of parity - this means that in all countries a newborn girl can expect to live longer than a newborn boy.1

The chart below shows that even though women enjoy an advantage across all countries, differences between countries can be substantial. In Russia, women live 10 years longer than men. In Bhutan, the difference is just half a year.

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The advantage of women in life expectancy was much lower in countries with higher incomes that it is today.
Let's examine how the female longevity advantage has changed in the course of time. The following chart shows the life expectancy of males and females at birth in the US over the period 1790-2014. Two points stand out.

The first is that there is an upward trend. Men as well as women in the US are living much, 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 terms of life expectancy used be quite small however, it has increased significantly during the last century.

You can confirm that the points you've listed are applicable to other countries with data by clicking the "Change country" option on the chart. This includes the UK, France, and Sweden.