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Why are women living longer than men?

Vilma Santora (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 have a longer life span than men? And how the advantage has grown in the past? We only have partial evidence and the evidence is not sufficient to reach an absolute conclusion. We know that biological, behavioral and environmental factors contribute to the fact that women live longer than men; however, we do not know how significant the impact of each of these factors is.

We have learned that women live longer than men, تحاميل مهبلية regardless of their weight. But it is not due to the fact that certain non-biological aspects have changed. These variables are evolving. Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. Others 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 line of parity diagonally. This means that a newborn girl from every country could anticipate to live longer than her younger brother.

It is interesting to note that the advantage of women exists across all countries, the difference between countries is huge. In Russia women have an average of 10 years more than men, while in Bhutan the gap is just half one year.

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In countries with high incomes, the female advantage in longevity was smaller
Let's examine how the female longevity advantage has changed over time. The following chart shows the male and female lifespans at birth in the US over the period 1790-2014. Two things stand out.

1 year agoFirst, there is an upward trend. Both men and women in the US have a much longer life span longer than they did 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

Second, the gap is growing: Although the female advantage in life expectancy was once very small It has significantly increased in the past.

You can check if these principles are also applicable to other countries that have data by clicking on the "Change country" option on the chart. This includes the UK, France, and تحاميل مهبلية Sweden.