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Why are women living longer than men?

Mellissa Rodman (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 more than men do today and why have these advantages gotten bigger in the past? There isn't much evidence and we're only able to provide partial solutions. We are aware that behavioral, biological and environmental factors all play a role in the fact that women have longer life spans than men, however, we aren't sure how strong the relative contribution of each factor is.

In spite of the weight, اوضاع الجماع we know that a large portion of the reason why women live longer than men in the present and not in the past, has to do with the fact that some fundamental non-biological factors have changed. What are these new factors? Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. Others 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, اوضاع الجماع 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. It is clear that every country is above the line of parity diagonally. This implies that a baby girl in all countries can expect to live longer than her younger brother.

This chart illustrates that, although there is a women's advantage throughout the world, the differences between countries are often significant. In Russia women live for 10 years longer than men. In Bhutan there is a difference of just half a year.

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The female advantage in life expectancy was smaller in developed countries that it is today.
Let's examine how the female advantage in terms of longevity has changed over time. The chart below illustrates the men and women's life expectancies when they were born in the US during the period 1790-2014. Two specific points stand out.

The first is that there is an upward trend. Men as well as women in the US are living much, much longer today than a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

The second is that there is an ever-widening gap: female advantage in terms of life expectancy used to be very modest however it increased dramatically in the past century.

2 years agoYou can confirm that these principles are also applicable to other countries with data by clicking the "Change country" option in the chart. This includes the UK, France, and Sweden.