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Why women are more likely to live longer than men?

Vilma Santora (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 are more likely to live longer than men? Why does this benefit increase in the past? There isn't much evidence and we have only partial solutions. We know that biological, behavioral and environmental factors play a role in the fact that women live longer than men; but we don't know exactly how much the influence of each of these factors is.

Independently of the exact weight, we know that at least part of the reason why women live longer than men do today, but not previously, has to be due to the fact that certain 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. Certain 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, افضل كريم للشعر 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. As we can see, every country is above the diagonal parity line - it means that in all nations the newborn girl is likely to live longer than a new boy.1

This graph shows that even though women enjoy an advantage across all countries, differences between countries can be substantial. In Russia women have a longer life span than men, while in Bhutan the difference is less than half a year.

In wealthy countries, the female advantage in longevity used to be smaller
Let's examine how the female longevity advantage has changed in the course of time. The next chart compares male and female life expectancy when they were born in the US during the time period between 1790 and 2014. Two distinct points stand out.

The first is that there is an upward trend. Men and women in America have longer lives than they used to a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

Second, the gap is growing: Although the advantage of women in life expectancy used to be extremely small however, it has grown significantly in the past.

Using the option 'Change country in the chart, you can check that these two points are applicable to other countries with available information: Sweden, France and the UK.hqdefault.jpg