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Why do women live longer than men?

Cathryn Richter (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 why women are more likely to live longer than men? And how has this advantage gotten larger in the past? The evidence isn't conclusive and we're left with only partial solutions. While we are aware that there are behavioral, biological and environmental factors that all play a role in women's longevity more than men, we do not know what percentage each factor plays in.

We have learned that women are living longer than males, regardless of weight. However this isn't because of certain 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, اضيق وضعية للجماع so advances in medicine that reduced the long-term health burden from infectious diseases, especially for survivors, ended up raising women's longevity disproportionately.

\u0637\u0631\u064a\u0642\u0629 \u0637\u0628\u064a\u0639\u064a\u0629 \u0644\u0635\u0628\u063a \u0627\u0644\u0634\u0639\u0631 \u0628\u0627\u0644\u0627\u0633\u0648\u062f - \u0645\u062c\u0644\u0629 \u0647\u064aEverywhere in the world women tend to live longer than men
The first chart below shows life expectancy at birth for men and women. It is clear that all countries are over the diagonal line of parity. This implies that a baby girl in every country can be expected to live for longer than her younger brother.

This chart illustrates that, while there is a female advantage across all countries, differences between countries can be substantial. In Russia women live 10 years longer than men. In Bhutan the gap is just half a year.

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In the richer countries, the advantage of women in longevity used to be smaller
Let's now look at the way that female advantages in longevity has changed over time. The next chart shows male and female life expectancy at birth in the US over the period 1790-2014. Two areas stand out.

The first is that there is an upward trend. Women and men living in America are living longer than they used to a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

The gap is widening: While the advantage of women in life expectancy was tiny but it has risen significantly with time.

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