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Why do women have longer lives than men?

Yvette Bock (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? Why the advantage has grown in the past? We have only a small amount of evidence and the evidence isn't sufficient to support an absolute conclusion. While we are aware that there are behavioral, biological and environmental variables which all play a part in women who live longer than males, it isn't clear the extent to which each factor plays a role.

We know that women are living longer than men, regardless of weight. However, this is not because of certain biological or non-biological factors have changed. What are these new factors? Some are well known and relatively straightforward, افضل كريم للشعر like the fact that men smoke more often. There are other issues 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.

139209230824004631731914.jpgEverywhere 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, every country is above the diagonal line of parity - this means in all countries that a baby girl can be expected to live longer than a newborn boy.1

This chart illustrates that, while there is a female advantage in all countries, the differences across countries could be significant. In Russia, women live 10 years longer than men. In Bhutan there is a difference of less that half a year.

In rich countries the advantage of women in longevity used to be smaller
Let's examine how the female longevity advantage has changed over time. The following chart shows the life expectancy of males and females when they were born in the US from 1790 to 2014. Two areas stand out.

There is an upward trend. Men and women living in America are living longer than they used to a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

The gap is growing: Although the advantage of women in life expectancy was once very small, it has increased substantially with time.

You can verify that these are applicable to other countries that have data by selecting the "Change country" option on the chart. This includes the UK, France, and Sweden.