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Why women are more likely to live longer than men?

Roma Glaze (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. What makes women live much longer than men today, and why have these advantages gotten bigger over time? We have only a small amount of evidence and the evidence isn't sufficient to draw an unambiguous conclusion. We are aware that behavioral, biological and environmental factors contribute to the fact that women have longer lives than men, however, we do not know how much the influence to each of these variables is.

We are aware that women are living longer than men, regardless of their weight. However it is not due to the fact that certain 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, صبغ الشعر بالاسود 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 صبغ الشعر بالاسود women. It is clear that all countries are above the line of parity diagonally. This means that a newborn girl from every country could anticipate to live longer than her older brother.

It is interesting to note that the advantage of women exists in all countries, country-specific differences are huge. In Russia women have a longer life span than men. In Bhutan the gap is just half an hour.

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The female advantage in terms of life expectancy was lower in rich countries as compared to the present.
We will now examine how the female advantage in longevity has changed over time. The next chart plots the male and female lifespans at birth in the US during the time period between 1790 and 2014. Two distinct features stand out.

First, there is an upward trend. Both genders in the United States live longer than they used to 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

And second, there is an ever-widening gap: female advantage in life expectancy used to be very small but it increased substantially over the last century.

You can check if these points are also applicable to other countries that have data by clicking the "Change country" option on the chart. This includes the UK, France, and Sweden.