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Why women are more likely to live longer than men?

Leandro Tilton (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 main reason women live longer than men? What is the reason is this difference growing as time passes? The evidence is limited and we're only able to provide some answers. We are aware that behavioral, biological and environmental factors play a role in the fact that women have longer life spans than men, however, we aren't sure how significant the impact of each of these factors is.

In spite of the number of pounds, we know that at least a portion of the reason why women live longer than men in the present and not in the past, has to have to do with the fact that some key 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. Others are more complex. For example, ابر التخسيس 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 ابر التخسيس 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. As we can see, all countries are above the diagonal line of parity - this means that in all countries the newborn girl is likely to live for longer than a newborn boy.1

1 year agoThe chart above shows that, while the advantage for women is present everywhere, difference between countries is huge. In Russia women have an average of 10 years more than men; in Bhutan the gap is less than half each year.

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The advantage for women in life expectancy was much lower in countries with higher incomes than it is now.
Let's take a look at how the female longevity advantage has changed over time. The chart below shows male and female life expectancy when they were born in the US from 1790-2014. Two distinct points stand out.

First, there is an upward trend. Both genders living in America are living longer than they used to 100 years 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 terms of life expectancy was extremely small but it has risen significantly over time.

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