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Why do women live longer than men?

Iva Unger (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 why women live longer than men? Why has this advantage gotten larger in the past? We only have partial evidence and the evidence is not sufficient to support an informed conclusion. While we are aware that there are behavioral, biological, and environmental factors that all play a role in women living longer than males, it isn't clear what percentage each factor plays in.

In spite of how much amount, we can say that at least a portion of the reason women live longer than men in the present and not in the past, is to relate to the fact that certain significant non-biological elements have changed. The factors changing are numerous. Some are well known and relatively straightforward, ابر التخسيس like the fact that men smoke more often. Some 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, ابر التخسيس 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 - this means that in all countries a newborn girl can expect to live longer than a newborn boy.1

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

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The female advantage in terms of life expectancy was lower in developed countries than it is today.
Let's examine how the 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 between 1790 to 2014. Two distinct points stand out.

The first is that there is an upward trend. Women and men in the United States live longer than they were a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

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

You can verify that these points are also applicable to other countries with data by clicking on the "Change country" option on the chart. This includes the UK, France, and Sweden.\u0627\u0644\u062f\u0643\u062a\u0648\u0631 \u0627\u0644\u062a\u0627\u0632\u064a: \u0647\u0630\u0647 \u0623\u0636\u0631\u0627\u0631 \u0648\u0641\u0648\u0627\u0626\u062f \u0625\u0628\u0631 \u0627\u0644\u062a\u062e\u0633\u064a\u0633