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Why do women live longer than men?

Jett Alvarado (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 does this benefit increase in the past? We only have partial evidence and the evidence isn't strong enough to make an unambiguous conclusion. We know there are biological, behavioral as well as environmental factors which all play a part in women living longer than men, we don't know what percentage each factor plays in.

Independently of the exact weight, we know that at least a portion of the reason women live so much longer than men do today, but not in the past, has to do with the fact that certain important non-biological aspects have changed. What are the factors that are changing? Some are well known and relatively straightforward, كيفية إقامة علاقة بالصور 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 every country is over the line of parity diagonally. This implies that a baby girl from any country can be expected to live for longer than her brother.

It is interesting to note that, while the advantage for women is present everywhere, cross-country differences are large. In Russia women have a longer life span than men; in Bhutan the difference is less than half an hour.

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In rich countries the advantage of women in longevity used to be smaller
Let's look at how the advantage of women in terms of longevity has changed over time. The following chart shows the male and female life expectancies at the time of birth in the US between 1790 to 2014. Two points stand out.

The first is that there is an upward trend. Men and women living in America are living longer than they did 100 years 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 extremely small It has significantly increased over time.

You can check if the points you've listed are applicable to other countries with information by clicking on the "Change country" option in the chart. This includes the UK, France, and Sweden.