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Why do women live longer than men?

Shane Nevarez (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 longer than men and how have these advantages gotten bigger over time? We have only a small amount of evidence and the evidence isn't sufficient to support a definitive conclusion. While we are aware that there are biological, behavioral as well as environmental factors that play an integral role in women who live longer than men, we do not know how much each one contributes.

2 years agoIndependently of the exact amount, we can say that at least part of the reason why women live so much longer than men today and not previously, has to be due to the fact that some 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. Certain are more complicated. For example, كيفية ممارسة العلاقة الزوجية فى الاسلام 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 line of parity - which means that in every country that a baby girl can be expected to live for longer than a new boy.1

The chart below shows that even though women enjoy an advantage in all countries, the differences across countries are often significant. In Russia, women live 10 years longer than males. In Bhutan, the difference is only half a year.

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In the richer countries, the female advantage in longevity used to be smaller
We will now examine how the gender advantage in longevity has changed with time. The chart below shows gender-based and female-specific life expectancy at birth in the US between 1790 to 2014. Two points stand out.

First, there's an upward trend. and women in the US live much, much longer than they did 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

The gap is widening: While the advantage of women in life expectancy was very small but it has risen significantly with time.

By selecting 'Change Country in the chart, you are able to check that these two points apply to other countries with available information: كيفية ممارسة العلاقة الزوجية فى الاسلام Sweden, France and the UK.