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Why women are more likely to live longer than men?

Winfred Paling (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 longer than men, and why does this benefit increase over time? The evidence isn't conclusive and we have only incomplete solutions. While we are aware that there are biological, behavioral and environmental variables that all play a role in women who live longer than men, we do not know what percentage each factor plays in.

In spite of how much amount, we can say that at a minimum, the reason why women live longer than men do today and not in the past, is to relate to the fact that several key non-biological factors have changed. What are the factors that are changing? 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. It is clear that every country is above the line of parity diagonally. This implies that a baby girl in every country can anticipate to live longer than her younger brother.

Interestingly, this chart shows that the advantage of women is present everywhere, country-specific differences are huge. In Russia women have an average of 10 years more than men; in Bhutan the difference is less than half each year.

In the richer countries, the female advantage in longevity used to be smaller
Let's look at the way that female advantages in longevity has changed over time. The following chart shows the male and female life expectancies when they were born in the US during the period 1790 until 2014. Two points stand out.

The first is that there is an upward trend. Both men as well as women in the US are living much, ماذا يحدث بين الزوجين في الحمام بالصور much longer today than a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

The gap is growing: Although the female advantage in terms of life expectancy was extremely small It has significantly increased in the past.

If you select the option "Change country in the chart, confirm that the two points also apply to the other countries with available information: Sweden, France and the UK.