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Why do women have longer lives than men?

Shawnee Kiley (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 reason women live longer than men? And how does this benefit increase in the past? We have only a small amount of evidence and the evidence isn't sufficient to support an informed conclusion. We are aware that behavioral, biological and ابر التخسيس environmental factors play a role in the fact that women have longer life spans than men, however, we do not know how strong the relative contribution of each one of these factors is.

We have learned that women are living longer than men, regardless of their weight. But this is not because of certain biological or non-biological factors have changed. What are these changing factors? 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. We can see that all countries are above the diagonal line of parity - it means that in all nations a newborn girl can expect to live for longer than a new boy.1

The chart above shows that the advantage of women is present everywhere, global differences are significant. In Russia women live 10 years longer than males. In Bhutan the difference is less that half a year.

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The advantage women had in life expectancy was smaller in developed countries that it is today.
Let's take a look at how the female longevity advantage has changed over time. The chart below shows male and female life expectancies at the time of birth in the US between 1790 to 2014. Two areas stand out.

The first is that there is an upward trend. Men and women in the United States live longer than they were 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

The gap is growing: Although the advantage of women in life expectancy was once extremely small but it has risen significantly with time.

Using the option 'Change country from the chart, you can confirm that the two points are also applicable to the other countries with available data: Sweden, France and the UK.