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Why do women have longer lives 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 is the reason women live longer than men? And why is this difference growing as time passes? We have only a small amount of evidence and ابر التخسيس the evidence isn't sufficient to draw an absolute conclusion. We know that behavioral, biological and environmental factors all contribute to the fact that women have longer lives than men, however, we aren't sure how strong the relative contribution of each one of these factors is.

In spite of how much weight, we know that at a minimum, the reason women live longer than men do today however not as previously, is to relate to the fact that some fundamental non-biological factors have changed. These variables are evolving. 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 you can see, all countries are above the diagonal parity line - it means that in all nations the newborn girl is likely to live for longer than a newborn boy.1

This graph shows that while there is a female advantage everywhere, cross-country differences are often significant. In Russia women live 10 years more than men. In Bhutan there is a difference of just half a year.

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The female advantage in life expectancy was smaller in rich countries than it is today.
Let's examine how the gender advantage in terms of longevity has changed over time. The next chart plots male and female life expectancies at birth in the US over the period 1790-2014. Two aspects stand out.

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

The gap is widening: While the female advantage in life expectancy used to be quite small It has significantly increased over time.

When you click on the option "Change country from the chart, you will be able to check that these two points apply to the other countries with available data: Sweden, France and the UK.