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Why are women living longer than men?

Ferne Sisk (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 have these advantages gotten bigger in the past? We only have partial evidence and the evidence is not strong enough to make an unambiguous conclusion. Although we know that there are biological, psychological and environmental variables that all play a role in women who live longer than men, we don't know how much each one contributes.

We are aware that women are living longer than men, regardless of their weight. But this isn't due to the fact that certain non-biological aspects have changed. What are the factors that are changing? 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. We can see that all countries are above the diagonal line of parity. This means that a newborn girl in every country can anticipate to live longer than her brother.

This chart is interesting in that it shows that the advantage of women exists across all countries, ابر التخسيس the global differences are significant. In Russia women live 10 years longer than men. In Bhutan the gap is less than half one year.

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The advantage of women in life expectancy was smaller in rich countries than it is now.
Let's now look at the way that female advantages in longevity has changed over time. The next chart shows male and female life expectancy when they were born in the US from 1790 to 2014. Two things stand out.

The first is that there is an upward trend. Both genders in America live longer than they did 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

Second, the gap is increasing: While the female advantage in life expectancy used to be tiny, it has increased substantially with time.

It is possible to verify that the points you've listed are applicable to other countries with data by clicking the "Change country" option in the chart. This includes the UK, France, and Sweden.random-090718142553-phpapp01-thumbnail-3