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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 makes women live more than men do today and why does this benefit increase over time? The evidence is limited and we have only some solutions. We know that behavioral, biological and environmental factors play a role in the fact that women are healthier than men; however, we do not know how strong the relative contribution of each factor is.

Independently of the exact amount, we can say that at least a portion of the reason why women live longer than men however not as previously, has to do with the fact that a number of 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. Some 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 parity line ; this means that in all countries the newborn girl is likely to live for longer than a newborn boy.1

This chart shows that, even though women enjoy an advantage in all countries, the differences across countries are often 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 rich countries the advantage of women in longevity was not as great.
Let's look at how the advantage of women in longevity has changed over time. The following chart shows the male and female life expectancies at the time of birth in the US from 1790 to 2014. Two specific points stand out.

First, there is an upward trend. Women and men in America have longer lives than they were a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

And ماذا يحدث بين الزوجين في الحمام بالصور second, there is an increase in the gap between men and women: female advantage in terms of life expectancy used be very small however, ماذا يحدث بين الزوجين في الحمام بالصور it has increased significantly during the last century.

You can check if the points you've listed are applicable to other countries that have data by clicking the "Change country" option in the chart. This includes the UK, France, and Sweden.