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Why women live longer 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. Why do women live much longer than men today and why is this difference growing over time? The evidence isn't conclusive and we're left with only incomplete solutions. While we are aware that there are biological, behavioral as well as environmental factors that play an integral role in women living longer than men, we don't know what percentage each factor plays in.

We are aware that women live longer than males, regardless of weight. However it is not due to the fact that certain non-biological factors 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. There are others that are more intricate. 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. It is clear that every country is over the diagonal line of parity. This means that a newborn girl in all countries can be expected to live for longer than her older brother.

This chart is interesting in that it shows that although the female advantage exists across all countries, the global differences are significant. In Russia women have an average of 10 years more than men; in Bhutan the difference is less than half an hour.

In countries with high incomes, the women's advantage in longevity was previously smaller.
Let's now look at how the gender advantage in longevity has changed over time. The next chart compares the male and female lifespans at birth in the US over the period 1790-2014. Two specific points stand out.

First, there is an upward trend. Men and women in the United States live longer than they used to a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

Second, there's an increase in the gap between men and women: female advantage in life expectancy used be very modest however, it has increased significantly over the course of the last century.

By selecting 'Change Country' on the chart, you can determine if these two points are also applicable to other countries with available data: Sweden, France and the UK.