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Why do women live 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. What is the reason women live more than men do today, and why have these advantages gotten bigger in the past? We only have a few clues and the evidence is not strong enough to make an unambiguous conclusion. We are aware 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 to each of these variables is.

It is known that women live longer than men, regardless of their weight. However it is not due to the fact that certain biological or non-biological factors have changed. What are these factors that have changed? Some are well known and relatively straightforward, صبغ الشعر بالاسود 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 صبغ الشعر بالاسود women. We can see that every country is above the diagonal parity line , this means that in all countries a newborn girl can expect to live for longer than a new boy.1

This chart shows that, although women have an advantage everywhere, cross-country differences are often significant. In Russia women live for 10 years longer than men. In Bhutan there is a difference of just half a year.

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The advantage for women in life expectancy was much lower in developed countries as compared to the present.
Let's take a look at how the female longevity advantage has changed in the course of time. The following chart shows male and female life expectancy at birth in the US over the period 1790-2014. Two aspects stand out.

First, there is an upward trend. Men as well as women in the US have a much longer life span longer today than a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

The gap is widening: While the advantage of women in life expectancy was extremely small but it has risen significantly over time.

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