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Why are women living longer than men?

Kimberly Castleberry (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. Why do women live so much longer than men today and why is this difference growing in the past? The evidence is sketchy and we're only able to provide partial solutions. We know there are behavioral, biological and environmental factors which all play a part in the longevity of women over men, we do not know the extent to which each factor plays a role.

In spite of how much amount, we can say that at least a portion of the reason women live longer than men today but not in the past, has to have to do with the fact that several significant non-biological elements have changed. What are these new factors? Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. Certain 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. As we can see, every country is above the diagonal parity line , which means that in every country the newborn girl is likely to live longer than a newborn boy.1

It is interesting to note that the advantage of women exists in all countries, difference between countries is huge. In Russia women live 10 years more than men. In Bhutan the gap is less that half a year.

In rich countries the advantage of women in longevity was previously smaller.
Let's take a look at how the female longevity advantage has changed in the course of time. The next chart shows male and female life expectancy at birth in the US over the period 1790-2014. Two things stand out.

The first is that there is an upward trend: افضل كريم للشعر 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.

The gap is increasing: افضل كريم للشعر While the advantage of women in life expectancy was once quite small It has significantly increased with time.

If you select the option "Change country from the chart, you will be able to determine if these two points also apply to the other countries with available data: Sweden, France and the UK.