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Why women 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 is the reason women have a longer life span than men? What is the reason is this difference growing over time? There isn't much evidence and we only have partial solutions. While we are aware that there are behavioral, biological and environmental variables that play an integral role in women living longer than males, it isn't clear the extent to which each factor plays a role.

We have learned that women are living longer than men, regardless of their weight. But it is not due to the fact that certain non-biological aspects have changed. These factors are changing. Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. Others are more complicated. For example, العاب زوجية - - 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 means that a newborn girl from any country can be expected to live for longer than her younger brother.

It is interesting to note that although the female advantage exists in all countries, difference between countries is huge. In Russia women live 10 years longer than males. In Bhutan there is a difference of less that half a year.

In the richer countries, the women's advantage in longevity was previously smaller.
Let's look at how female longevity advantage has changed in the course of time. The chart below illustrates the men and women's life expectancies at the birth in the US from 1790-2014. Two aspects stand out.

First, there is an upward trend. Men and women in the US have a much longer life span longer than they did 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

And second, العاب زوجية there is an ever-widening gap: female advantage in terms of life expectancy used be very small but it increased substantially in the past century.

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