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Why are women living longer than men?

Analisa Wingfield (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 is the reason women live much longer than men today and how does this benefit increase in the past? The evidence isn't conclusive and we only have limited solutions. We recognize that biological, behavioral and environmental factors all contribute to the fact that women have longer lives than men, however, we do not know how much the influence of each factor is.

In spite of the weight, we know that a large portion of the reason why women live so much longer than men do today, but not in the past, has to relate to the fact that certain significant non-biological elements have changed. These are the factors that are changing. Some are well known and 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. It is clear that every country is over the line of parity diagonally. This means that a newborn girl from every country could anticipate to live longer than her older brother.

This chart illustrates that, even though women enjoy an advantage in all countries, the differences across countries can be substantial. In Russia, women live for 10 years longer than men. In Bhutan the gap is less that half a year.

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The advantage women had in life expectancy was much lower in the richer countries as compared to the present.
Let's examine how the advantage of women in terms of longevity has changed over time. The following chart shows the life expectancy of males and females at birth in the US between 1790 and افضل شامبو وبلسم [glorynote.com] 2014. Two specific points stand out.

There is an upward trend. Men and women 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.

And second, there is an ever-widening gap: female advantage in life expectancy used to be very modest, but it grew substantially in the past century.

You can check if the points you've listed are applicable to other countries with data by clicking on the "Change country" option in the chart. This includes the UK, France, and Sweden.