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Why are women living longer than men?

Vilma Santora (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 more than men do today and why does this benefit increase over time? The evidence isn't conclusive and we're left with only partial answers. We recognize that biological, اضيق وضعية للجماع behavioral and environmental factors all contribute to the fact that women live longer than men; but we don't know exactly how strong the relative contribution of each factor is.

tafsiribnukatsirmuhaqqoq001-110113010227In spite of the precise amount of weight, we are aware that a large portion of the reason women live so much longer than men but not previously, is to relate to the fact that a number of fundamental non-biological factors have changed. These are the factors that are changing. Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. Some 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. We can see that all countries are above the line of parity diagonally. This means that a newborn girl in every country can expect to live longer than her brother.

This chart shows that, although there is a women's advantage in all countries, the differences across countries can be substantial. In Russia women live 10 years longer than males. In Bhutan the difference is less than half a calendar year.

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The advantage of women in life expectancy was much lower in developed countries that it is today.
Let's examine the way that female advantages in longevity has changed over time. The following chart shows the life expectancy of males and females at birth in the US from 1790 to 2014. Two distinct points stand out.

The first is that there is an upward trend. Both genders in America live longer than they used to a century 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 was once extremely small however, it has grown significantly over time.

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