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Why women live longer than men?

Vilma Santora (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 main reason women live longer than men? What is the reason has this advantage gotten larger as time passes? The evidence isn't conclusive and we only have some solutions. Although we know that there are biological, behavioral as well as environmental factors which all play a part in the longevity of women over men, we do not know how much each one contributes.

We know that women live longer than males, زيوت تطويل الشعر regardless of weight. But it is not due to the fact that certain 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. There are other issues 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 women. We can see that every country is above the diagonal line of parity - this means that in all countries baby girls can expect to live for longer than a new boy.1

This chart shows that, even though women enjoy an advantage in all countries, the differences across countries can be substantial. In Russia women have a longer life span than men; in Bhutan the gap is just half a year.

In countries with high incomes, the advantage of women in longevity was smaller
Let's look at how female longevity advantage has changed in the course of time. The following chart shows male and female life expectancy at birth in the US during the time period between 1790 and 2014. Two points stand out.

There is an upward trend: Men and women in the US live much, much longer than they did a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

And second, there is a widening gap: The female advantage in life expectancy used be very small but it increased substantially over the last century.

hqdefault.jpgIf you select the option "Change country by country' in the chart, you are able to confirm that the two points are applicable to other countries with available information: Sweden, France and the UK.