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Why women are more likely to live longer 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's the reason women live longer than men? And why does this benefit increase over time? We have only a small amount of evidence and the evidence isn't sufficient to reach a definitive conclusion. While we are aware that there are biological, psychological and environmental variables which play a significant role in women living longer than men, we do not know how much each one contributes.

In spite of how much amount of weight, we are aware that at least part of the reason why women live longer than men today and not previously, is to be due to the fact that a number of key non-biological factors have changed. What are the factors that are changing? Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. There are others that are more intricate. 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. We can see that every country is above the diagonal line of parity. This implies that a baby girl in every country can be expected to live for longer than her older brother.

Interestingly, this chart shows that although the female advantage is present everywhere, global differences are significant. In Russia, women live 10 years more than men. In Bhutan there is a difference of less that half a year.

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In countries with high incomes, the longevity advantage for women used to be smaller
Let's now look at how the gender advantage in longevity has changed over time. The following chart shows the men and women's life expectancies at the time of birth in the US in the years 1790 until 2014. Two specific points stand زيوت تطويل الشعر out.

First, there is an upward trend. Men and women in America live longer than they used to 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

Second, there's an increasing gap: The female advantage in terms of life expectancy used to be extremely small but it increased substantially in the past century.

By selecting 'Change Country from the chart, you will be able to determine if these two points are applicable to the other countries having available information: Sweden, France and the UK.