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Why do women have longer lives 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. What makes women live much longer than men today and why is this difference growing in the past? There isn't much evidence and we're left with only partial answers. We know that biological, behavioral and environmental factors all contribute to the fact that women live longer than men; however, we aren't sure how much the influence of each of these factors is.

In spite of the weight, we know that a large portion of the reason women live longer than men today and not previously, is to do with the fact that some significant non-biological elements have changed. These are the factors that are changing. Some are well known and صبغ الشعر بالاسود 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, صبغ الشعر بالاسود 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 diagonal line of parity. This means that a newborn girl from every country could be expected to live for longer than her younger brother.

This graph shows that although women have an advantage across all countries, differences between countries can be significant. In Russia, women live 10 years longer than males. In Bhutan there is a difference of just half a year.

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The advantage of women in terms of life expectancy was lower in developed countries that it is today.
Let's see how the female longevity advantage has changed over time. The chart below shows male and female life expectancies at the birth in the US during the period 1790 until 2014. Two points stand out.

First, there is an upward trend. Men and women in America live longer than they did a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

The gap is widening: While the female advantage in life expectancy was once very small but it has risen significantly over time.

If you select the option "Change country by country' in the chart, you can determine if these two points are also applicable to the other countries with available information: Sweden, France and the UK.