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Why do women live longer than men?

Roma Glaze (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 makes women live much longer than men today and why has this advantage increased in the past? The evidence is sketchy and we're left with only incomplete answers. While we are aware that there are behavioral, biological as well as environmental factors which all play a part in women living longer than men, we do not know what percentage each factor plays in.

We are aware that women are living longer than men, regardless of weight. But, this is not because of certain non-biological factors have changed. These variables are evolving. Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. There are others that are more intricate. 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 صبغ الشعر بالاسود women. It is clear that all countries are above the line of parity diagonally. This implies that a baby girl from any country can anticipate to live longer than her younger brother.

This chart is interesting in that it shows that while the female advantage exists in all countries, country-specific differences are huge. In Russia women live 10 years longer than men. In Bhutan the difference is less than half one year.

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In wealthy countries, the advantage of women in longevity was previously smaller.
We will now examine how the gender advantage in life expectancy has changed over time. The next chart plots the male and female lifespans when they were born in the US between 1790 and 2014. Two areas stand out.

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

The gap is growing: Although the female advantage in life expectancy was extremely small however, it has grown significantly over time.

12153522005_de62f0cfae.jpgYou can confirm that these points are also applicable to other countries that have data by selecting the "Change country" option in the chart. This includes the UK, France, and Sweden.