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Why are women living longer than men?

Sienna Wunderly (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 so much longer than men today and how is this difference growing over time? The evidence is limited and we only have incomplete answers. We know that biological, behavioral and environmental factors play a role in the fact that women have longer life spans than men, However, we're not sure how strong the relative contribution to each of these variables is.

It is known that women are living longer than men, regardless of their weight. But it is not due to the fact that certain non-biological factors have changed. These factors are changing. Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. Some are more complex. For example, كيفية إقامة علاقة بالصور 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. It is clear that every country is above the diagonal line of parity. This implies that a baby girl from every country could be expected to live for longer than her brother.

It is interesting to note that while the female advantage exists everywhere, the country-specific differences are huge. In Russia women have a longer life span than men; in Bhutan the gap is less than half an hour.

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The female advantage in life expectancy was much lower in countries with higher incomes that it is today.
Let's now look at the way that female advantages in longevity has changed with time. The following chart shows the men and women's life expectancies at the birth in the US in the years 1790 to 2014. Two points stand out.

There is an upward trend. Women and men in America have longer lives than they were 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

The gap is getting wider: Although the female advantage in life expectancy was once very small, it has increased substantially over time.

1 year agoIf you select the option "Change country in the chart, verify that these two points are also applicable to other countries with available data: Sweden, France and the UK.