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Why women are more likely to live 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 longer than men? And how has this advantage gotten larger over time? There is only limited evidence and the evidence isn't strong enough to make an unambiguous conclusion. While we are aware that there are biological, psychological, and environmental factors which all play a part in the longevity of women over men, تحاميل مهبلية we do not know the extent to which each factor plays a role.

In spite of how much amount, we can say that at least part of the reason why women live longer than men today however not as in the past, is to have to do with the fact that several important non-biological aspects have changed. These 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.

12154339676_6d0b87dfa2.jpgEverywhere 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, every country is above the diagonal parity line - it means that in all nations that a baby girl can be expected to live longer than a newborn boy.1

The chart above shows that the advantage of women is present everywhere, cross-country differences are large. In Russia women have an average of 10 years more than males; while in Bhutan the gap is just half a year.

The female advantage in life expectancy was less in the richer countries as compared to the present.
Let's now look at how the female advantage in life expectancy has changed over time. The following chart shows the male and female lifespans when they were born in the US during the time period between 1790 and 2014. Two points stand out.

First, there is an upward trend. Men and women living in America are living longer than they were a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

Second, the gap is increasing: While the female advantage in life expectancy used to be extremely small but it has risen significantly over time.

When you click on the option "Change country' on the chart, you can check that these two points are also applicable to other countries with available data: Sweden, France and the UK.