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Why women live longer than men?

Sabine Biaggini (2022-04-21)

18-95-1-400.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 much longer than men today and why have these advantages gotten bigger in the past? We have only a small amount of evidence and the evidence is not sufficient to support an informed conclusion. Although we know that there are biological, behavioral and environmental factors which play a significant role in women who live longer than men, we do not know what percentage each factor plays in.

We know that women live longer than men, regardless of their weight. But this is not because of certain non-biological aspects have changed. These factors are changing. Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. Certain 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 كيفية ممارسة العلاقة الزوجية فى الاسلام women. It is clear that all countries are over the diagonal line of parity. This implies that a baby girl in every country can anticipate to live longer than her brother.

This graph shows that although there is a women's advantage across all countries, differences between countries can be significant. In Russia women have an average of 10 years more than men, while in Bhutan the difference is less than half each year.

The advantage of women in terms of life expectancy was lower in developed countries than it is now.
Let's look at how female longevity advantage has changed over time. The chart below illustrates the male and female life expectancy at birth in the US during the period 1790 to 2014. Two distinct points stand out.

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

Second, the gap is getting wider: Although the female advantage in life expectancy used to be tiny but it has risen significantly in the past.

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