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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 makes women live more than men do today and how has this advantage increased in the past? There isn't much evidence and we have only incomplete solutions. We know there are behavioral, ماذا يحدث بين الزوجين في الحمام بالصور biological, and ماذا يحدث بين الزوجين في الحمام بالصور environmental factors that play an integral role in women's longevity more than males, it isn't clear the extent to which each factor plays a role.

In spite of the amount, we can say that at least a portion of the reason why women live so much longer than men in the present and not previously, has to relate to the fact that certain important non-biological aspects have changed. What are these factors that have changed? 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 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 over the diagonal line of parity. This implies that a baby girl in every country can anticipate to live longer than her brothers.

This graph shows that although there is a women's advantage across all countries, differences between countries can be significant. In Russia women live 10 years longer than males. In Bhutan there is a difference of only half a year.

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In the richer countries, the women's advantage in longevity was not as great.
Let's now look at how the female advantage in life expectancy has changed over time. The next chart plots male and female life expectancy when they were born in the US from 1790 to 2014. Two distinct points stand out.

The first is that there is an upward trend. Both men as well as women in the US live much, much longer than they did 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

There is an increase in the gap between men and women: female advantage in terms of life expectancy used to be quite small, but it grew substantially over the course of the last century.

If you select the option "Change country from the chart, you will be able to confirm that the two points are also applicable to the other countries with available data: Sweden, France and the UK.