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Why women are more likely to live longer than men?

Mellissa Rodman (2022-04-20)


139209230824004631731914.jpgEverywhere 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 longer than men? What is the reason has this advantage gotten larger as time passes? There is only limited evidence and the evidence is not strong enough to make an absolute conclusion. Although we know that there are biological, psychological and environmental factors that play an integral role in the longevity of women over men, we don't know how much each factor contributes.

We are aware that women are living longer than men, regardless of their weight. However this isn't because of certain non-biological aspects have changed. The factors changing are numerous. 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, 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 over the diagonal line of parity. This implies that a baby girl in every country can expect to live longer than her brothers.

It is interesting to note that while the female advantage is present everywhere, cross-country differences are large. In Russia women have a longer life span than men; in Bhutan the gap is less than half one year.

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In wealthy countries, the longevity advantage for women was previously smaller.
Let's take a look at how the female longevity advantage has changed over time. The next chart shows the male and female lifespans when they were born in the US from 1790 to 2014. Two points stand ابر التخسيس out.

The first is that there is an upward trend. Women and men in America live longer than they did 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

And second, there is an ever-widening gap: female advantage in life expectancy used be quite small, but it grew substantially over the course of the last century.

It is possible to verify that the points you've listed are applicable to other countries that have data by selecting the "Change country" option on the chart. This includes the UK, France, and Sweden.