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Why women are more likely to live longer than men?

Marcos Flannery (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 have a longer life span than men? What is the reason does this benefit increase as time passes? There is only limited evidence and the evidence isn't sufficient to draw an absolute conclusion. We know that behavioral, biological and environmental factors play a role in the fact that women have longer life spans than men, however, we aren't sure how much the influence of each factor is.

It is known that women are living longer than men, regardless of weight. However this isn't due to the fact that certain biological factors have changed. What are these changing factors? 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, اوضاع الجماع so advances in medicine that reduced the long-term health burden from infectious diseases, اوضاع الجماع 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 implies that a baby girl from every country could be expected to live for longer than her brothers.

This chart illustrates that, even though women enjoy an advantage in all countries, the differences across countries are often significant. In Russia women have an average of 10 years more than men; in Bhutan the gap is less than half a year.

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The advantage of women in life expectancy was much lower in developed countries that it is today.
Let's look at how female longevity advantage has changed in the course of time. The next chart plots the male and female lifespans at birth in the US between 1790 and 2014. Two things stand out.

The first is that there is an upward trend. Both men and women in the US live a lot, much longer than they did 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

And second, there is an increasing gap: The female advantage in terms of life expectancy used to be very small, but it grew substantially during the last century.

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