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Why do women live longer than men?

Kimberly Castleberry (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 why women are more likely to live longer than men? What is the reason does this benefit increase as time passes? There is only limited evidence and the evidence is not sufficient to reach an unambiguous conclusion. While we are aware that there are biological, psychological and environmental factors that all play a role in the longevity of women over men, we don't know what percentage each factor plays in.

We are aware that women live longer than men, regardless of their weight. However this isn't due to the fact that certain non-biological factors have changed. These factors are changing. Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. Some 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. As you can see, every country is above the diagonal parity line ; this means in all countries a newborn girl can expect to live for longer than a newborn boy.1

This chart is interesting in that it shows that the advantage of women exists everywhere, the cross-country differences are large. In Russia women have a longer life span than men; in Bhutan the difference is just half an hour.

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The advantage women had in life expectancy was much lower in rich countries than it is now.
Let's look at how female longevity advantage has changed in the course of time. The following chart shows the gender-based and female-specific life expectancy at the time of birth in the US from 1790-2014. Two distinct points stand out.

First, العاب زوجية there is an upward trend. Both genders living in America are living longer than they used to a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

The gap is widening: While the female advantage in life expectancy was once quite small however, it has grown significantly over time.

You can verify that the points you've listed are applicable to other countries that have data by clicking the "Change country" option in the chart. This includes the UK, France, and Sweden.