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Why are women living longer than men?

Marcos Flannery (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 reason women are more likely to live longer than men? And how has this advantage gotten larger as time passes? There is only limited evidence and the evidence is not sufficient to draw a definitive conclusion. We are aware that behavioral, biological and environmental factors contribute to the fact that women are healthier than men; However, we're not sure how much the influence of each factor is.

10 months agoWe are aware that women are living longer than men, regardless of their weight. But this isn't because of certain biological or non-biological factors have changed. What are these new factors? Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. There are other issues 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.

Everywhere in the world women tend to live longer than men
The first chart below shows life expectancy at birth for men and women. It is clear that all countries are above the diagonal line of parity. This means that a newborn girl from every country could be expected to live for اوضاع الجماع longer than her younger brother.

It is interesting to note that although the female advantage exists across all countries, the difference between countries is huge. In Russia women live 10 years more than men. In Bhutan, the difference is less that half a year.

The advantage women had in life expectancy was less in developed countries as compared to the present.
Let's look at how female longevity advantage has changed over time. The chart below illustrates the gender-based and female-specific life expectancy at the time of birth in the US in the years 1790 until 2014. Two distinct features stand out.

There is an upward trend. Both men as well as women in the US are living much, much longer than they did 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 to be very modest, but it grew substantially during the last century.

Using the option 'Change country by country' in the chart, you will be able to verify that these two points apply to other countries with available data: Sweden, France and the UK.