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Why do women live longer than men?

Roma Glaze (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 so more than men do today and how has this advantage increased over time? We have only a small amount of evidence and the evidence isn't sufficient to reach an absolute conclusion. We recognize that biological, behavioral and environmental factors all contribute to the fact that women live longer than men; but we don't know exactly what the contribution of each one of these factors is.

It is known that women live longer than men, regardless of weight. But it is not due to the fact that certain biological factors have changed. What are these changing factors? Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. Other are more complicated. 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, ابر التخسيس 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 over the line of parity diagonally. This implies that a baby girl in every country can anticipate to live longer than her older brother.

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

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The advantage women had in life expectancy was smaller in rich countries than it is now.
Let's take a look at how the female longevity advantage has changed over time. The chart below shows male and female life expectancies when they were born in the US between 1790 to 2014. Two specific points stand out.

The first is that there is an upward trend. Both men as well as women in the US have a much longer life span longer today than a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

The gap is growing: Although the advantage of women in terms of life expectancy was tiny, it has increased substantially in the past.

If you select the option "Change country' on the chart, verify that these two points are applicable to other countries with available data: Sweden, France and the UK.