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Why do women have longer lives than men?

Danny Arias (2022-04-20)


1396090112554979612574084.jpgEverywhere 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. Why do women live so longer than men in the present, and why has this advantage increased over time? The evidence is sketchy and we have only limited solutions. We know there are behavioral, biological and environmental variables that all play a role in women who live longer than men, we do not know what percentage each factor plays in.

We have learned that women are living longer than men, regardless of weight. However, this is not because of certain non-biological aspects have changed. What are these factors that have changed? Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. Certain are more complicated. 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 line of parity diagonally. This means that a newborn girl in all countries can expect to live longer than her younger brother.

This chart shows that, although there is a women's advantage everywhere, cross-country differences can be significant. In Russia women are 10 years older than men, while in Bhutan the difference is less than half a year.

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The advantage women had in life expectancy was much lower in countries with higher incomes as compared to the present.
Let's look at the way that female advantages in terms of longevity has changed over time. The next chart compares male and female life expectancy at birth in the US over the period 1790-2014. Two points stand صبغ الشعر بالاسود out.

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

Second, the gap is growing: Although the advantage of women in terms of life expectancy was tiny, it has increased substantially with time.

You can check if these points are also applicable to other countries that have information by clicking on the "Change country" option on the chart. This includes the UK, France, and Sweden.