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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. Why do women live so more than men do today and how does this benefit increase over time? We only have partial evidence and the evidence is not sufficient to reach a definitive conclusion. We recognize that biological, العاب زوجية behavioral and environmental factors play a role in the fact that women are healthier than men; but we don't know exactly how strong the relative contribution of each of these factors is.

We have learned that women are living longer than men, regardless of weight. However this is not because of certain biological factors have changed. These are the factors that are changing. 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, 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 we can see, all countries are above the diagonal parity line , which means that in every country the newborn girl is likely to live for longer than a new boy.1

Interestingly, this chart shows that the advantage of women exists everywhere, the cross-country differences are large. In Russia, women live 10 years more than men. In Bhutan the difference is less than half a calendar year.

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The female advantage in life expectancy was much lower in developed countries than it is today.
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 over the period 1790-2014. Two things stand out.

There is an upward trend. Women and men in the United States live longer than they did a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

There is an increase in the gap between men and العاب زوجية women: female advantage in terms of life expectancy used to be extremely small however, it has increased significantly over the course of the last century.

If you select the option "Change country by country' in the chart, you will be able to check that these two points are applicable to other countries with available data: Sweden, France and the UK.