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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's the reason why women live longer than men? Why does this benefit increase in the past? The evidence is limited and we're only able to provide limited answers. Although we know that there are behavioral, biological and environmental variables that play an integral role in women who live longer than men, ابر التخسيس we don't know how much each one contributes.

Independently of the exact amount, we can say that a large portion of the reason women live longer than men in the present and not previously, has to be due to the fact that several key non-biological factors have changed. The factors changing are numerous. Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. Certain 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. It is clear that every country is above the diagonal line of parity. This implies that a baby girl in every country can be expected to live for longer than her older brother.

It is interesting to note that although the female advantage exists across all countries, the cross-country differences are large. In Russia, women live for 10 years longer than men. In Bhutan the difference is less than half a calendar year.

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In countries with high incomes, the longevity advantage for women was not as great.
Let's examine how the female longevity advantage has changed over time. The chart below illustrates the men and women's life expectancies when they were born in the US from 1790 until 2014. Two distinct features stand out.

There is an upward trend: Men as well as 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.

Second, ابر التخسيس the gap is widening: While the female advantage in terms of life expectancy was quite small, it has increased substantially in the past.

Using the option 'Change country by country' in the chart, you can check that these two points also apply to other countries that have available information: Sweden, France and the UK.