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Why do women live longer than men?

Cathryn Richter (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 live longer than men in the present and how is this difference growing in the past? There isn't much evidence and we're only able to provide some answers. We know that biological, behavioral and environmental factors all contribute to the fact that women are healthier than men; but we don't know exactly how significant the impact of each factor is.

3 years agoIt is known that women live longer than men, regardless of their weight. But, this is not due to the fact that certain biological or non-biological factors 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 women. As you can see, all countries are above the diagonal parity line , it means that in all nations baby girls can expect to live for longer than a newborn boy.1

This chart illustrates that, while there is a female advantage throughout the world, the differences between countries could be significant. In Russia women are 10 years older than men. In Bhutan the difference is just half an hour.

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In wealthy countries, the longevity advantage for women was previously smaller.
Let's take a look at how the female longevity advantage has changed in the course of time. The chart below illustrates the male and female life expectancies at birth in the US from 1790 to 2014. Two points stand اضيق وضعية للجماع out.

First, there is an upward trend. Women and men in America have longer lives than they did a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

The second is that there is an increasing gap: The female advantage in life expectancy used be very small but it increased substantially over the last century.

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