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Why are women living longer than men?

Ava Scutt (2022-04-21)


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 women have a longer life span than men? And how the advantage has grown in the past? We only have a few clues and the evidence isn't strong enough to make an informed conclusion. We know that biological, behavioral and environmental factors all play a role in the fact that women live longer than men; however, we aren't sure how much the influence of each factor is.

In spite of the precise number of pounds, we know that at least part of the reason why women live so much longer than men however not as previously, has to do with the fact that a number of key non-biological factors have changed. What are these factors that have changed? Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. There are others 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.

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 parity line , this means that in all countries baby girls can expect to live longer than a newborn boy.1

Interestingly, this chart shows that although the female advantage exists across all countries, the global differences are significant. In Russia women live 10 years more than men. In Bhutan there is a difference of only half a year.

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The female advantage in life expectancy was much lower in developed countries that it is today.
Let's now look at how the gender advantage in longevity has changed over time. The following chart shows the life expectancy of males and females when they were born in the US over the period 1790-2014. Two points stand out.

First, there is an upward trend. Both men and women in the US are living much, 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 life expectancy used be extremely small, but it grew substantially during the last century.

By selecting 'Change Country from the chart, verify that these two points apply to the other countries with available information: Sweden, France and افضل كريم للشعر the UK.