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Why women live longer than men?

Shawnee Kiley (2022-04-20)

139209230824004631731914.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 more than men do today, and why have these advantages gotten bigger over time? We only have a few clues and the evidence is not sufficient to reach an informed conclusion. We recognize that biological, behavioral and environmental factors contribute to the fact that women live longer than men; but we don't know exactly how strong the relative contribution of each of these factors is.

In spite of how much weight, we know that a large portion of the reason women live so much longer than men do today and not in the past, has to do with the fact that some key non-biological factors have changed. What are these changing factors? 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, اضيق وضعية للجماع 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 اضيق وضعية للجماع women. We can see that all countries are above the diagonal parity line ; it means that in all nations baby girls can expect to live for longer than a new boy.1

The chart below shows that although women have an advantage throughout the world, the differences between countries could be significant. In Russia women live for 10 years longer than males. In Bhutan, the difference is less that half a year.

The advantage of women in life expectancy was less in rich countries as compared to the present.
We will now examine how the female advantage in longevity has changed with time. The next chart plots the life expectancy of males and females at birth in the US from 1790 to 2014. Two distinct features stand out.

There is an upward trend. Men and women in the United States live longer than they did a century 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 however, it has grown significantly with time.

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