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Why are women living longer than men?

Ferne Sisk (2022-04-21)

1 year agoEverywhere 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 have a longer life span than men? And how is this difference growing as time passes? We have only a small amount of evidence and the evidence isn't sufficient to support a definitive conclusion. We know there are biological, psychological and environmental factors that all play a role in the longevity of women over men, we don't know how much each one contributes.

It is known that women are living longer than males, regardless of weight. But it is not due to the fact that certain 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 other issues that are more intricate. For علامات الحمل بولد ( 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, every country is above the diagonal line of parity - which means that in every country the newborn girl is likely to live longer than a newborn boy.1

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

In countries with high incomes, the advantage of women in longevity was not as great.
Let's now look at how the female advantage in life expectancy has changed over time. The chart below illustrates the men and women's life expectancies at the time of birth in the US in the years 1790 until 2014. Two specific points stand out.

The first is that there is an upward trend: Men and women in the US have a much longer life span longer than they did a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

Second, the gap is getting wider: Although the advantage of women in life expectancy used to be extremely small but it has risen significantly in the past.

You can confirm that the points you've listed are applicable to other countries with data by selecting the "Change country" option in the chart. This includes the UK, France, and Sweden.