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Why do women live longer than men?

Lona Talbott (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's the main reason women are more likely to live longer than men? And why is this difference growing as time passes? There isn't much evidence and we only have partial solutions. We know there are biological, psychological and environmental factors which all play a part in the longevity of women over men, we do not know how much each factor contributes.

In spite of the precise number of pounds, ماذا يحدث بين الزوجين في الحمام بالصور we know that a large portion of the reason women live longer than men today however not as previously, has to have to do with the fact that some important non-biological aspects 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 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 men and women. We can see that all countries are above the diagonal parity line ; this means that in all countries that a baby girl can be expected to live for longer than a new boy.1

This chart shows that, even though women enjoy an advantage throughout the world, the differences between countries can be significant. In Russia, women live 10 years more than males. In Bhutan the difference is less that half a year.

In rich countries the advantage of women in longevity was not as great.
Let's examine how the female advantage in longevity has changed over time. The chart below illustrates the men and women's life expectancies at the time of birth in the US between 1790 until 2014. Two areas stand out.

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

15566133503.jpgAnd second, there is an increase in the gap between men and women: female advantage in terms of life expectancy used be very small however it increased dramatically over the course of the last century.

By selecting 'Change Country in the chart, confirm that the two points also apply to other countries that have available information: Sweden, France and the UK.