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Why do women have longer lives than men?

Jetta Tedesco (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 and why have these advantages gotten bigger over time? The evidence is sketchy and we're only able to provide limited answers. Although we know that there are biological, behavioral as well as environmental factors that play an integral role in women who live longer than males, it isn't clear how much each one contributes.

We have learned that women are living longer than males, regardless of weight. But it is not because of certain biological or non-biological factors have changed. What are the factors that are changing? 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, اوضاع الجماع 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 ; this means that in all countries a newborn girl can expect to live longer than a newborn boy.1

This chart shows that, although there is a women's advantage in all countries, the differences across countries could be significant. In Russia women have a longer life span than men; in Bhutan the gap is less than half an hour.

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The advantage for women in life expectancy was less in rich countries as compared to the present.
Let's look at how the female advantage in longevity has changed over time. The following chart shows the male and female life expectancy at the birth in the US in the years 1790 until 2014. Two things stand out.

The first is that there is an upward trend. Women and men 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.

Second, the gap is getting wider: اوضاع الجماع Although the female advantage in life expectancy used to be very small It has significantly increased with time.

Using the option 'Change country' on the chart, you are able to confirm that the two points are applicable to the other countries with available data: Sweden, France and the UK.