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Why do women live longer than men?

Lona Fawcett (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 are more likely to live longer than men? What is the reason the advantage has grown in the past? The evidence isn't conclusive and we have only partial answers. While we are aware that there are biological, behavioral and environmental variables that all play a role in women who live longer than males, we aren't sure how much each factor contributes.

In spite of the amount, we can say that a large portion of the reason why women live so much longer than men in the present and افضل كريم للشعر not in the past, is to do with the fact that a number of fundamental non-biological factors have changed. What are these new factors? Some are well known and افضل كريم للشعر 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. As we can see, every country is above the diagonal line of parity - which means that in every country a newborn girl can expect to live longer than a newborn boy.1

This chart is interesting in that it shows that the advantage of women exists across all countries, the global differences are significant. In Russia women live 10 years more than males. In Bhutan the gap is only half a year.

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In the richer countries, the advantage of women in longevity was not as great.
Let's examine how the female longevity advantage has changed in the course of time. The chart below shows male and female life expectancies at birth in the US during the period 1790 until 2014. Two areas stand out.

The first is that there is an upward trend. Both genders in America have longer lives than they were 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

Second, there's an ever-widening gap: female advantage in life expectancy used to be extremely small however, it has increased significantly in the past century.

Using the option 'Change country from the chart, you can check that these two points also apply to other countries with available information: Sweden, France and the UK.