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Why women live longer than men?

Ava Scutt (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 much longer than men today, and why does this benefit increase over time? The evidence is sketchy and we're left with only partial answers. Although we know that there are biological, behavioral and environmental variables that play an integral role in women who live longer than men, we do not know the extent to which each factor plays a role.

Independently of the exact amount of weight, we are aware that at least part of the reason women live longer than men in the present, علامات الحمل بولد but not previously, has to relate to the fact that certain significant non-biological elements have changed. What are these factors that have changed? 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. We can see that all countries are above the diagonal parity line ; it means that in all nations baby girls can expect to live longer than a newborn boy.1

This graph shows that even though women enjoy an advantage across all countries, differences between countries can be substantial. In Russia women have an average of 10 years more than men. In Bhutan the gap is less than half one year.

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The advantage for women in terms of life expectancy was lower in rich countries as compared to the present.
Let's see how the female longevity advantage has changed over time. The chart below shows male and female life expectancy at the birth in the US during the period 1790 to 2014. Two things stand out.

First, there's an upward trend: Men and women in the US live a lot, much longer today than a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

The gap is getting wider: Although the female advantage in life expectancy was extremely small, it has increased substantially over time.

When you click on the option "Change country by country' in the chart, you will be able to verify that these two points apply to other countries that have available data: Sweden, France and the UK.tafsiribnukatsirmuhaqqoq001-110113010227