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Why do women have longer lives than men?

Leandro Tilton (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? What is the reason has this advantage gotten larger over time? The evidence is limited and we're left with only limited solutions. We recognize that biological, behavioral and environmental factors contribute to the fact that women live longer than men; However, we're not sure how significant the impact of each of these factors is.

Independently of the exact amount, العاب زوجية we can say that at least part of the reason women live so much longer than men in the present, but not in the past, is to do with the fact that a number of key 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. 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, 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 every country is above the diagonal line of parity. This implies that a baby girl from any country can expect to live longer than her brothers.

This chart is interesting in that it shows that although the female advantage exists across all countries, the global differences are significant. In Russia women have a longer life span than men. In Bhutan the difference is just half a year.

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The advantage for women in life expectancy was smaller in the richer countries as compared to the present.
Let's now look at how the advantage of women in longevity has changed with time. The chart below shows male and female life expectancy at the birth in the US during the period 1790 to 2014. Two points stand out.

First, there is an upward trend. Men and women living in America are living longer than they used to a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

And second, there is an increase in the gap between men and women: female advantage in terms of life expectancy used be extremely small, but it grew substantially during the last century.

139209230824004631731914.jpgWhen you click on the option "Change country from the chart, you will be able to verify that these two points are also applicable to the other countries having available information: Sweden, France and the UK.