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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 reason women are more likely to live longer than men? What is the reason does this benefit increase as time passes? We only have partial evidence and the evidence is not sufficient to draw an unambiguous conclusion. We recognize that biological, behavioral and environmental factors all contribute to the fact that women have longer lives than men, However, we're not sure what the contribution of each one of these factors is.

In spite of the precise number of pounds, we know that a large portion of the reason women live longer than men but not in the past, is to relate to the fact that some fundamental non-biological factors have changed. The factors changing are numerous. Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. Others 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 line of parity diagonally. This means that a newborn girl from every country could expect to live longer than her older brother.

This chart illustrates that, although women have an advantage in all countries, the differences across countries can be significant. In Russia women are 10 years older than men, while in Bhutan the gap is less than half each year.

The advantage for women in life expectancy was much lower in the richer countries as compared to the present.
Let's now look at how the female advantage in longevity has changed with time. The chart below shows men and تحاميل مهبلية women's life expectancies at birth in the US during the period 1790 to 2014. Two distinct features stand out.

The first is that there is an upward trend. Women and men in America live longer than they used to 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

Second, there's a widening gap: The female advantage in life expectancy used be very modest but it increased substantially over the last century.

Using the option 'Change country' on the chart, you can check that these two points also apply to the other countries with available data: تحاميل مهبلية Sweden, France and the UK.49813909241_6ab72fb3eb.jpg