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Why women are more likely to live longer than men?

Steve Sturgis (2022-04-19)

1 year agoEverywhere 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 more than men do today, and why has this advantage increased over time? The evidence is limited and we have only limited answers. We know that behavioral, biological and environmental factors contribute to the fact that women have longer lives than men, however, we aren't sure what the contribution of each one of these factors is.

In spite of the number of pounds, we know that a large portion of the reason women live longer than men do today and not in the past, has to be due to the fact that a number of important non-biological aspects have changed. What are these factors that have changed? 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 , it means that in all nations baby girls can expect to live longer than a new boy.1

The chart below shows that although there is a women's advantage everywhere, cross-country differences could be significant. In Russia women have an average of 10 years more than men, while in Bhutan the difference is less than half a year.

The female advantage in life expectancy was smaller in countries with higher incomes than it is now.
Let's examine the way that female advantages in terms of longevity has changed over time. The next chart shows male and female life expectancy when they were born in the US during the time period between 1790 and 2014. Two distinct 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 a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

And second, there is an ever-widening gap: female advantage in life expectancy used be very small but it increased substantially during the last century.

You can confirm that these are applicable to other countries with data by clicking on the "Change country" option on the chart. This includes the UK, France, and ماذا يحدث بين الزوجين في الحمام بالصور Sweden.