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Why women are more likely to live longer 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's the reason why women live longer than men? Why is this difference growing in the past? The evidence is limited and we have only incomplete solutions. Although we know that there are behavioral, biological and environmental variables that play an integral role in women's longevity more than males, it isn't clear how much each factor contributes.

In spite of how much number of pounds, we know that at a minimum, the reason women live longer than men and علامات الحمل بولد not in the past, is to have to do with 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. 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 every country is over the diagonal line of parity. This implies that a baby girl from any country can anticipate to live longer than her brothers.

This chart shows that, although women have an advantage everywhere, cross-country differences can be significant. In Russia women live 10 years longer than men, while in Bhutan the gap is less than half one year.

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The female advantage in life expectancy was much lower in rich countries than it is today.
Let's look at how the female advantage in terms of longevity has changed over time. The next chart shows male and female life expectancies when they were born in the US during the time period between 1790 and 2014. Two specific points stand out.

There is an upward trend. Both men as well as women in the US live much, much longer today than a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

The second is that there is an increasing gap: The female advantage in life expectancy used to be quite small, but it grew substantially over the course of the last century.

You can check if 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, and Sweden.hqdefault.jpg