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Why do women live longer than men?

Danny Arias (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? Why has this advantage gotten larger in the past? We have only a small amount of evidence and the evidence is not sufficient to support a definitive conclusion. We are aware that behavioral, biological and environmental factors contribute to the fact that women have longer life spans than men, however, we do not know how strong the relative contribution of each of these factors is.

We know that women are living longer than men, regardless of weight. But this is not due to the fact that certain biological factors have changed. What are these new factors? 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.

1396090112554979612574084.jpgEverywhere in the world women tend to live longer than men
The first chart below shows life expectancy at birth for men and اوضاع الجماع women. As you can see, 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

This chart illustrates that, although there is a women's advantage across all countries, differences between countries are often significant. In Russia women have a longer life span than men, while in Bhutan the gap is less than half a year.

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In wealthy countries, the longevity advantage for women was previously smaller.
Let's look at the way that female advantages in terms of longevity has changed over time. The following chart shows the male and female life expectancies at the time of birth in the US from 1790 to 2014. Two distinct points stand out.

There is an upward trend. Women and men in America have longer lives than they did a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

Second, the gap is growing: Although the female advantage in life expectancy was very small, it has increased substantially in the past.

If you select the option "Change country in the chart, you are able to verify that these two points also apply to the other countries having available data: Sweden, France and the UK.