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Why do women live longer than men?

Lona Talbott (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? And how has this advantage gotten larger as time passes? We have only a small amount of evidence and the evidence isn't sufficient to draw a definitive conclusion. We are aware that behavioral, biological and environmental factors all play a role in the fact that women are healthier than men; However, we're not sure what the contribution of each factor is.

In spite of the precise weight, we know that a large portion of the reason women live longer than men today however not as in the past, is to do with the fact that certain 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. Others are more complex. 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. As you can see, all countries are above the diagonal line of parity - this means that in all countries a newborn girl can expect to live for longer than a newborn boy.1

It is interesting to note that although the female advantage exists across all countries, the difference between countries is huge. In Russia women have a longer life span than men; in Bhutan the gap is less than half a year.

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The advantage women had in life expectancy was much lower in developed countries that it is today.
Let's look at how the gender advantage in longevity has changed over time. The chart below illustrates the men and women's life expectancies when they were born in the US in the years 1790-2014. Two things stand اوضاع الجماع out.

The first is that there is an upward trend. as well as women in the US live much, much longer today than a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

Second, the gap is growing: Although the female advantage in terms of life expectancy was extremely small but it has risen significantly over time.

tafsiribnukatsirmuhaqqoq001-110113010227You can verify that the points you've listed are applicable to other countries that have information by clicking on the "Change country" option on the chart. This includes the UK, France, and Sweden.