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Why women are more likely to 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. What's the reason why women live longer than men? Why does this benefit increase over time? The evidence is limited and we're only able to provide limited solutions. We are aware that behavioral, biological and environmental factors all play a role in the fact that women are healthier than men; However, we're not sure what the contribution to each of these variables is.

We are aware that women live longer than men, regardless of weight. However this isn't because of certain non-biological aspects have changed. What are these changing factors? Some are well known and 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 كيفية ممارسة العلاقة الزوجية فى الاسلام 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 every country is above the diagonal parity line , this means in all countries a newborn girl can expect to live longer than a newborn boy.1

The chart above shows that, while the advantage for women exists across all countries, the country-specific differences are huge. In Russia women have a longer life span than men; in Bhutan the difference is less than half an hour.

In countries with high incomes, the female advantage in longevity was not as great.
Let's take a look at how the female longevity advantage has changed over time. The following chart shows the male and female life expectancies at the time of birth in the US in the years 1790 until 2014. Two aspects stand out.

The first is that there is an upward trend: Men as well as women in the US have a much longer life span 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 widening: While the female advantage in life expectancy was once very small, it has increased substantially with time.

Using the option 'Change country by country' in the chart, you can confirm that the two points apply to the other countries having available information: Sweden, France and the UK.