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Why do women have longer lives 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's the reason women are more likely to live longer than men? What is the reason the advantage has grown over time? We only have a few clues and the evidence is not sufficient to reach an absolute conclusion. We recognize that biological, behavioral and environmental factors play a role in the fact that women are healthier than men; However, we're not sure how strong the relative contribution of each of these factors is.

1 year agoWe have learned that women are living longer than men, regardless of their weight. However it is not due to the fact that certain non-biological aspects have changed. What are these factors that have changed? 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 all countries are above the diagonal line of parity. This means that a newborn girl in every country can be expected to live for longer than her younger brother.

This chart illustrates that, although women have an advantage in all countries, علامات الحمل بولد the differences across countries can be significant. In Russia women are 10 years older than men; in Bhutan the difference is just half an hour.

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The advantage for women in terms of life expectancy was lower in the richer countries that it is today.
Let's examine how the advantage of women in longevity has changed with time. The next chart plots male and female life expectancy when they were born in the US from 1790 to 2014. Two points stand out.

First, there's an upward trend: Men as well as women in the US are living much, much longer than they did 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

There is an ever-widening gap: female advantage in life expectancy used be extremely small but it increased substantially over the course of the last century.

You can confirm that these are applicable to other countries that have data by selecting the "Change country" option on the chart. This includes the UK, France, and Sweden.