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Why are women living 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. What makes women live much longer than men today and how does this benefit increase over time? The evidence is sketchy and we have only some answers. We know there are biological, psychological and environmental factors which play a significant role in women's longevity more than males, we aren't sure how much each one contributes.

In spite of how much number of pounds, we know that at a minimum, the reason why women live so much longer than men do today, but not in the past, is to do with the fact that certain fundamental non-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 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, 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. We can see that every country is above the diagonal line of parity. This means that a newborn girl from any country can anticipate to live longer than her brothers.

This chart shows that, although women have an advantage in all countries, the differences across countries can be substantial. In Russia, women live 10 years longer than men. In Bhutan, the difference is only half a year.

In rich countries the women's advantage in longevity used to be smaller
Let's now look at how the female advantage in longevity has changed over time. The chart below shows male and female life expectancy when they were born in the US between 1790-2014. Two distinct features stand out.

The first is that there is an upward trend. Both genders in the United States live longer than they used to 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

And second, there is an increase in the gap between men and women: female advantage in terms of life expectancy used to be very small but it increased substantially during the last century.

By selecting 'Change Country by country' in the chart, you can check that these two points are also applicable to the other countries having available data: Sweden, France and the UK.