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Why are women living longer than men?

Sabine Biaggini (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? And how does this benefit increase as time passes? There is only limited evidence and the evidence is not sufficient to draw a definitive conclusion. Although we know that there are behavioral, biological as well as environmental factors that all play a role in women's longevity more than men, we don't know how much each factor contributes.

We know that women live longer than men, regardless of their weight. However, this is not because of certain 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. There are others 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 اوضاع الجماع women. It is clear that every country is above the diagonal line of parity. This implies that a baby girl in all countries can be expected to live for longer than her brother.

This chart illustrates that, even though women enjoy an advantage everywhere, cross-country differences could be significant. In Russia women are 10 years older than men. In Bhutan the difference is just half one year.

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In wealthy countries, the female advantage in longevity was smaller
Let's examine how the female longevity advantage has changed over time. The next chart shows male and female life expectancies when they were born in the US from 1790 to 2014. Two points stand out.

First, there's an upward trend. Men and 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.

And second, there is an increase in the gap between men and اوضاع الجماع women: female advantage in life expectancy used to be extremely small however it increased dramatically over the course of the last century.

By selecting 'Change Country in the chart, you will be able to confirm that the two points are also applicable to the other countries with available data: Sweden, France and the UK.