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Why do women live longer than men?

Hassie Blaze (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 so longer than men in the present and why have these advantages gotten bigger in the past? The evidence is sketchy and we're left with only some answers. We recognize that biological, behavioral and environmental factors contribute to the fact that women live longer than men; However, we're not sure how much the influence to each of these variables is.

Independently of the exact amount, we can say that at least part of the reason women live so much longer than men in the present and not in the past, is to do with the fact that several important non-biological aspects have changed. These factors are changing. Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. Others 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, 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 اوضاع الجماع men and women. We can see that all countries are above the diagonal line of parity - this means that in all countries a newborn girl can expect to live longer than a newborn boy.1

This graph shows that although women have an advantage in all countries, the differences across countries can be substantial. In Russia women live 10 years more than men. In Bhutan the difference is less than half a calendar year.

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The advantage women had in life expectancy was smaller in rich countries than it is today.
Let's examine how the female advantage in terms of longevity has changed over time. The next chart compares male and female life expectancy when they were born in the US from 1790 to 2014. Two areas stand اوضاع الجماع out.

The first is that there is an upward trend. Both men as well as women in the US have a much longer life span 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 a widening gap: The female advantage in life expectancy used be very small but it increased substantially over the last century.

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