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Why women are more likely to live longer than men?

Ferne Sisk (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 makes women live much longer than men today and how is this difference growing over time? The evidence isn't conclusive and we have only some answers. We know there are biological, behavioral and environmental variables which all play a part in the longevity of women over males, we aren't sure what percentage each factor plays in.

It is known that women are living longer than males, regardless of weight. However 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 اضيق وضعية للجماع 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. As we can see, all countries are above the diagonal parity line , this means in all countries the newborn girl is likely to live for longer than a new boy.1

The chart above shows that the advantage of women exists everywhere, the cross-country differences are large. In Russia women live for 10 years longer than males. In Bhutan the gap is less that half a year.

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The female advantage in life expectancy was less in countries with higher incomes that it is today.
Let's see how the female longevity advantage has changed over time. The following chart shows male and female life expectancies when they were born in the US from 1790 to 2014. Two aspects stand out.

First, there is an upward trend. Men and women living in America are living longer than they used to 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

There is a widening gap: The female advantage in terms of life expectancy used be very modest but it increased substantially during the last century.

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