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Why do women have longer lives than men?

Wilford Tufnell (2022-04-21)


1627926550236_4999bride-600x600.pngEverywhere 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 longer than men, العاب زوجية and why does this benefit increase in the past? We have only a small amount of evidence and the evidence is not sufficient to support a definitive conclusion. We are aware that behavioral, biological and environmental factors play a role in the fact that women live longer than men; but we don't know exactly what the contribution to each of these variables is.

We know that women live longer than men, regardless of weight. But this is not due to the fact that certain 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. 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. We can see that every country is above the diagonal parity line - it means that in all nations baby girls can expect to live longer than a new boy.1

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

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The advantage of women in terms of life expectancy was lower in rich countries as compared to the present.
Let's examine how the gender advantage in life expectancy has changed over time. The following chart shows the male and female life expectancy when they were born in the US from 1790-2014. Two specific points stand out.

There is an upward trend. Both genders living in America are living longer than they did 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

The second is that there is an increase in the gap between men and women: female advantage in terms of life expectancy used be very modest however, it has increased significantly over the course of the last century.

When you click on the option "Change country from the chart, you are able to determine if these two points also apply to other countries that have available information: Sweden, France and the UK.