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Why are women living 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 is the reason women live longer than men? And how does this benefit increase as time passes? There is only limited evidence and the evidence isn't sufficient to reach a definitive conclusion. We are aware that behavioral, biological and environmental factors contribute to the fact that women have longer life spans than men, علامات الحمل بولد However, we're not sure what the contribution of each factor is.

In spite of how much number of pounds, we know that at a minimum, the reason women live so much longer than men today, but not in the past, is to have to do with the fact that some fundamental 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. 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. We can see that all countries are above the diagonal line of parity - this means that in all countries a newborn girl can expect to live for longer than a newborn boy.1

This chart is interesting in that it shows that although the female advantage is present everywhere, country-specific differences are huge. In Russia women live 10 years longer than males; while in Bhutan the gap is less than half each year.

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The female advantage in life expectancy was smaller in countries with higher incomes than it is now.
Let's examine the way that female advantages in life expectancy has changed over time. The chart below illustrates the male and female life expectancies when they were born in the US in the years 1790 until 2014. Two things stand out.

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

The gap is increasing: While the female advantage in life expectancy was tiny but it has risen significantly over time.

It is possible to verify that these are applicable to other countries with data by selecting the "Change country" option on the chart. This includes the UK, France, and Sweden.