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Why women 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. Why do women live longer than men and why have these advantages gotten bigger over time? There is only limited evidence and the evidence isn't sufficient to reach a definitive conclusion. While we are aware that there are behavioral, biological and environmental variables that all play a role in women's longevity more than men, we do not know the extent to which each factor صبغ الشعر بالاسود plays a role.

In spite of the precise amount, we can say that a large portion of the reason women live so much longer than men do today however not as in the past, has to do with the fact that several significant non-biological elements have changed. What are the factors that are changing? Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. Other 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, 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 line of parity diagonally. This means that a newborn girl in all countries can be expected to live for longer than her older brother.

This chart shows that, although women have an advantage across all countries, differences between countries could be significant. In Russia women live 10 years longer than males; while in Bhutan the difference is less than half each year.

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In the richer countries, the female advantage in longevity was previously smaller.
Let's see how the female longevity advantage has changed in the course of time. The next chart plots the life expectancy of males and females when they were born in the US from 1790 to 2014. Two distinct features stand out.

There is an upward trend. Both men and women in the US live a lot, much longer than they did 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

And صبغ الشعر بالاسود second, there is an ever-widening gap: female advantage in life expectancy used to be extremely small but it increased substantially during the last century.

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