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Why are women living longer 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 is the reason women live longer than men, and why has this advantage increased over time? We only have a few clues and the evidence is not sufficient to reach an informed conclusion. We know there are biological, psychological, and environmental factors that all play a role in women living longer than men, we do not know the extent to which each factor plays a role.

139209230824004631731914.jpgWe have learned that women live longer than men, regardless of weight. But this is not due to the fact that certain biological or علامات الحمل بولد non-biological factors have changed. What are the factors that are changing? Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. Others 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 علامات الحمل بولد 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 parity line , this means in all countries a newborn girl can expect to live for longer than a newborn boy.1

It is interesting to note that, while the advantage for women is present everywhere, country-specific differences are huge. In Russia women live 10 years more than males. In Bhutan, the difference is less that half a year.

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The advantage for women in life expectancy was much lower in the richer countries that it is today.
Let's examine the way that female advantages in longevity has changed over time. The next chart shows male and female life expectancies when they were born in the US from 1790 to 2014. Two points stand out.

First, there is an upward trend. Both genders in America have longer lives than they did a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

The gap is increasing: While the female advantage in life expectancy was extremely small It has significantly increased in the past.

If you select the option "Change country in the chart, you can confirm that the two points also apply to the other countries having available data: Sweden, France and the UK.