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Why women live longer than men?

Mellissa Rodman (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. Why do women live so more than men do today and how is this difference growing in the past? The evidence is sketchy and we have only partial solutions. Although we know that there are behavioral, biological and environmental factors that all play a role in women's longevity more than males, it isn't clear how much each factor contributes.

We know that women are living longer than males, regardless of weight. But, this is not because of certain non-biological aspects have changed. What are these changing factors? Some are well known and العاب زوجية 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, every country is above the diagonal parity line ; this means that in all countries the newborn girl is likely to live longer than a newborn boy.1

This chart illustrates that, although women have an advantage in all countries, the differences across countries can be significant. In Russia women have a longer life span than men, while in Bhutan the gap is just half one year.

In countries with high incomes, the advantage of women in longevity was smaller
Let's look at the way that female advantages in terms of longevity has changed over time. The following chart shows the gender-based and female-specific life expectancy at birth in the US during the period 1790 to 2014. Two specific points stand out.

There is an upward trend. Women and men 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.

And second, العاب زوجية ( there is an ever-widening gap: female advantage in terms of life expectancy used to be very modest however it increased dramatically over the course of the last century.

When you click on the option "Change country' on the chart, you will be able to determine if these two points are applicable to other countries that have available information: Sweden, France and the UK.