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Why are women living longer than men?

Vilma Santora (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. Why do women live longer than men in the present, and why is this difference growing in the past? The evidence is limited and we're left with only some answers. While we are aware that there are biological, psychological, and environmental factors which all play a part in the longevity of women over men, we do not know how much each factor contributes.

In spite of the weight, we know that at least a portion of the reason women live longer than men do today however not as previously, is to have to do with the fact that some significant non-biological elements have changed. The factors changing are numerous. 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. It is clear that all countries are above the diagonal line of parity. This implies that a baby girl from every country could anticipate to live longer than her younger brother.

It is interesting to note that the advantage of women exists in all countries, اوضاع الجماع cross-country differences are large. In Russia women have a longer life span than males; while in Bhutan the gap is just half an hour.

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The advantage women had in life expectancy was smaller in developed countries as compared to the present.
Let's take a look at how the female longevity advantage has changed over time. The following chart shows the male and female life expectancy at the birth in the US from 1790-2014. Two points stand out.

There is an upward trend: 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.

There is an increase in the gap between men and women: female advantage in terms of life expectancy used to be very modest but it increased substantially over the last century.

You can verify that these points are also applicable to other countries with data by clicking on the "Change country" option on the chart. This includes the UK, France, and Sweden.