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Why women live longer than men?

Marcos Flannery (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's the reason why women are more likely to live longer than men? What is the reason does this benefit increase as time passes? There is only limited evidence and the evidence isn't sufficient to support an unambiguous conclusion. We know that behavioral, biological and environmental factors play a role in the fact that women live longer than men; however, we do not know how significant the impact of each of these factors is.

We are aware that women live longer than men, regardless of their weight. However, this is not because of certain biological or non-biological factors have changed. What are these factors that have changed? Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. Some are more complex. 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. We can see that every country is above the line of parity diagonally. This implies that a baby girl in every country can anticipate to live longer than her younger brother.

The chart above shows that although the female advantage exists across all countries, the cross-country differences are large. In Russia women are 10 years older than men. In Bhutan the gap is less than half each year.

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The female advantage in life expectancy was less in rich countries than it is today.
We will now examine how the advantage of women in longevity has changed over time. The chart below illustrates the men and women's life expectancies at the time of birth in the US in the years 1790 to 2014. Two things stand out.

There is an upward trend. Men and women in the US are living much, اضيق وضعية للجماع 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 increasing gap: The female advantage in terms of life expectancy used to be very modest, but it grew substantially over the last century.

Using the option 'Change country in the chart, you are able to confirm that the two points apply to the other countries with available data: Sweden, France and the UK.