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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. What is the reason women live much longer than men today and why is this difference growing over time? The evidence is sketchy and we're only able to provide partial answers. We know there are behavioral, biological and environmental variables which play a significant role in women's longevity more than men, we don't know how much each factor contributes.

We are aware that women live longer than men, regardless of weight. However this isn't due to the fact that certain non-biological factors have changed. What are these changing factors? Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. There are others that are more intricate. 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.

skincarereview5.jpgEverywhere 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 all countries are over the line of parity diagonally. This means that a newborn girl from any country can anticipate to live longer than her older brother.

It is interesting to note that the advantage of women exists in all countries, difference between countries is huge. In Russia, women live 10 years longer than men. In Bhutan there is a difference of just half a year.

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The advantage of women in terms of life expectancy was lower in the richer countries as compared to the present.
Let's look at how the female advantage in longevity has changed over time. The following chart shows the male and female life expectancies at the birth in the US in the years 1790-2014. Two areas stand out.

First, there is an upward trend. Both genders living in America are living longer than they did a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

Second, there's a widening gap: The female advantage in terms of life expectancy used to be very small however it increased dramatically over the course of the last century.

By selecting 'Change Country in the chart, you will be able to check that these two points are also applicable to other countries that have available data: زيوت تطويل الشعر Sweden, France and the UK.