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Why do women live longer than men?

Marcos Flannery (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. Why do women live longer than men in the present and how have these advantages gotten bigger in the past? We only have partial evidence and the evidence isn't sufficient to support a definitive conclusion. We know there are biological, behavioral as well as environmental factors which play a significant role in women living longer than men, we don't know how much each factor contributes.

We have learned that women are living longer than men, regardless of their weight. However this is not because of certain biological or non-biological factors have changed. What are these changing factors? Some are well known and اضيق وضعية للجماع relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. Other 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 all countries are over the diagonal line of parity. This implies that a baby girl in every country can anticipate to live longer than her younger brother.

It is interesting to note that the advantage of women exists in all countries, cross-country differences are large. In Russia women have an average of 10 years more than males; while in Bhutan the gap is less than half each year.

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The advantage for women in life expectancy was smaller in the richer countries than it is now.
We will now examine how the advantage of women in life expectancy has changed over time. The chart below illustrates the male and female life expectancy when they were born in the US between 1790-2014. Two points stand out.

There is an upward trend: Men and women in the US live much, much longer than they did a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

The second is that there is a widening gap: The female advantage in life expectancy used be very small however it increased dramatically in the past century.

It is possible to verify that the points you've listed are applicable to other countries with information by clicking on the "Change country" option on the chart. This includes the UK, اضيق وضعية للجماع France, and Sweden.2.1.jpg