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Why do women have longer lives than men?

Merlin Dunstan (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 have a longer life span than men? Why is this difference growing in the past? The evidence isn't conclusive and we have only partial answers. We know there are behavioral, biological and environmental variables which play a significant role in women's longevity more than men, we don't know what percentage each factor plays in.

In spite of the precise amount of weight, we are aware that a large portion of the reason women live so much longer than men in the present however not as previously, is to be due to the fact that some significant non-biological elements have changed. The factors changing are numerous. Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. There are other issues 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 line of parity diagonally. This means that a newborn girl in every country can be expected to live for longer than her brothers.

The chart below shows that although there is a women's advantage across all countries, differences between countries can be substantial. In Russia women are 10 years older than men. In Bhutan the gap is just half a year.

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The advantage of women in life expectancy was less in the richer countries that it is today.
Let's examine how the female longevity advantage has changed over time. The chart below shows men and women's life expectancies when they were born in the US in the years 1790 until 2014. Two aspects stand out.

The first is that there is an upward trend. Men as well as women in the US live much, much longer than they did 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

Second, the gap is increasing: While the advantage of women in life expectancy was once tiny however, ماذا يحدث بين الزوجين في الحمام بالصور it has grown significantly over time.

You can confirm that these are applicable to other countries with data by clicking on the "Change country" option on the chart. This includes the UK, France, and Sweden.