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Why do women have longer lives than men?

Kimberly Castleberry (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 much longer than men today, and why is this difference growing over time? We only have a few clues and the evidence isn't strong enough to make a definitive conclusion. Although we know that there are behavioral, biological and environmental variables which play a significant role in the longevity of women over men, we don't know the extent to which each factor plays a role.

Independently of the exact amount of weight, we are aware that a large portion of the reason why women live so much longer than men today and علامات الحمل بولد not in the past, has to be due to the fact that certain significant non-biological elements 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. We can see that every country is above the line of parity diagonally. This means that a newborn girl in all countries can expect to live longer than her brothers.

The chart below shows that although there is a women's advantage across all countries, differences between countries could be significant. In Russia, women live for 10 years longer than males. In Bhutan there is a difference of just half a year.

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In the richer countries, the female advantage in longevity used to be smaller
We will now examine how the female advantage in life expectancy has changed over time. The next chart compares male and female life expectancies at birth in the US between 1790 and 2014. Two specific points stand out.

There is an upward trend: Men and women in the US are living much, much longer than they did a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

The gap is increasing: علامات الحمل بولد While the female advantage in life expectancy used to be tiny It has significantly increased in the past.

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