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Why do women have longer lives than men?

Sabine Biaggini (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's the main reason women live longer than men? What is the reason has this advantage gotten larger in the past? We have only a small amount of evidence and the evidence is not sufficient to reach an absolute conclusion. We know there are behavioral, biological, and environmental factors that all play a role in women who live longer than men, we don't know what percentage each factor plays in.

Independently of the exact weight, we know that at a minimum, the reason why women live so much longer than men, but not in the past, has to be due to the fact that several significant non-biological elements have changed. What are these factors that have changed? Some are well known and ابر التخسيس relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. Other are more complicated. 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 we can see, all countries are above the diagonal parity line - this means that in all countries that a baby girl can be expected to live longer than a new boy.1

It is interesting to note that although the female advantage is present everywhere, global differences are significant. In Russia women are 10 years older than males; while in Bhutan the gap is just half each year.

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In countries with high incomes, the advantage of women in longevity was previously smaller.
We will now examine how the advantage of women in longevity has changed over time. The following chart shows the male and female life expectancies at the time of birth in the US between 1790-2014. Two areas stand out.

First, there is an upward trend. as well as women in the US live much, much 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 getting wider: Although the advantage of women in life expectancy was once tiny, it has increased substantially in the past.

It is possible to verify that these points are also applicable to other countries that have data by clicking on the "Change country" option in the chart. This includes the UK, France, and Sweden.