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Why are women living longer 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 is the reason women are more likely to live longer than men? And why has this advantage gotten larger in the past? The evidence is limited and we only have partial answers. We know there are biological, psychological as well as environmental factors that play an integral role in women who live longer than men, we don't know the extent to which each factor plays a role.

We know that women are living longer than males, regardless of weight. But, العاب زوجية this is not due to the fact that certain non-biological aspects have changed. The factors changing are numerous. 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. As we can see, every country is above the diagonal line of parity - this means that in all countries that a baby girl can be expected to live longer than a new boy.1

This chart is interesting in that it shows that while the female advantage is present everywhere, country-specific differences are huge. In Russia women live for 10 years longer than males. In Bhutan the gap is less that half a year.

The advantage women had in terms of life expectancy was lower in the richer countries than it is now.
Let's see how the female longevity advantage has changed over time. The following chart shows male and female life expectancies when they were born in the US during the time period between 1790 and 2014. Two areas stand out.

First, there is an upward trend. Both men and women in the US live a lot, 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 widening: While the advantage of women in life expectancy used to be tiny It has significantly increased with time.

1 year agoWhen you click on the option "Change country' on the chart, verify that these two points are also applicable to the other countries having available information: Sweden, France and the UK.