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Why do women live longer than men?

Analisa Wingfield (2022-04-20)


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 longer than men, and why has this advantage increased over time? There isn't much evidence and we only have partial answers. While we are aware that there are biological, behavioral, and environmental factors that all play a role in women who live longer than men, we do not know what percentage each factor plays in.

We know that women are living longer than men, regardless of their weight. However this is not because of certain biological or non-biological factors have changed. These variables are evolving. 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. As you can see, all countries are above the diagonal line of parity - this means in all countries that a baby girl can be expected to live for longer than a new boy.1

This chart illustrates that, صبغ الشعر بالاسود while there is a female advantage across all countries, differences between countries are often significant. In Russia women live 10 years longer than men. In Bhutan the difference is less than half a year.

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In rich countries the female advantage in longevity was previously smaller.
Let's examine how the female longevity advantage has changed over time. The following chart shows the gender-based and female-specific life expectancy at the birth in the US between 1790 to 2014. Two specific points stand out.

First, there's an upward trend: Men and women in the US live much, much longer today than a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

Second, the gap is widening: صبغ الشعر بالاسود While the female advantage in life expectancy used to be quite small but it has risen significantly over time.

Using the option 'Change country in the chart, you can verify that these two points are also applicable to the other countries with available information: Sweden, France and the UK.