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Why women are more likely to live longer than men?

Aurora Salter (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 is this difference growing as time passes? The evidence isn't conclusive and we're left with only partial answers. Although we know that there are biological, behavioral as well as environmental factors that all play a role in the longevity of women over men, we don't know what percentage each factor plays in.

We know that women are living longer than men, regardless of weight. But it is not because of certain non-biological factors have changed. What are these changing factors? Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. Certain are more complicated. For example, ابر التخسيس 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. As we can see, every country is above the diagonal parity line , which means that in every country baby girls can expect to live longer than a newborn boy.1

This chart illustrates that, although there is a women's advantage everywhere, cross-country differences can be substantial. In Russia women are 10 years older than men, while in Bhutan the gap is just half a year.

In wealthy countries, the longevity advantage for women was previously smaller.
Let's examine how the female longevity advantage has changed over time. The chart below illustrates the male and female life expectancies at the birth in the US during the period 1790 to 2014. Two distinct points stand out.

First, there is an upward trend. Women and men 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.

The gap is increasing: While the female advantage in life expectancy was once very small, it has increased substantially over time.

By selecting 'Change Country' on the chart, you are able to verify that these two points are applicable to the other countries with available data: Sweden, France and the UK.