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Why are women living longer than men?

Sienna Wunderly (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's the main reason women live longer than men? Why is this difference growing as time passes? The evidence is sketchy and we have only limited solutions. We know that biological, behavioral and environmental factors contribute to the fact that women live longer than men; however, we aren't sure how strong the relative contribution of each factor is.

In spite of the weight, we know that a large portion of the reason women live so much longer than men but not previously, has to be due to the fact that some key non-biological factors have changed. What are these factors that have changed? Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. There are others that are more intricate. 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, زيوت تطويل الشعر 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 , it means that in all nations the newborn girl is likely to live longer than a new boy.1

This chart is interesting in that it shows that while the female advantage exists in all countries, global differences are significant. In Russia women live 10 years more than males. In Bhutan there is a difference of only half a year.

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The female advantage in life expectancy was smaller in developed countries that it is today.
Let's take a look at how the female longevity advantage has changed over time. The following chart shows the men and women's life expectancies at birth in the US between 1790-2014. Two points stand out.

There is an upward trend. Men and women in the US live much, much longer than they did 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

The second is that there is a widening gap: The female advantage in terms of life expectancy used be quite small, but it grew substantially in the past century.

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