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Why do women live longer than men?

Lilliana Kobayashi (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 so longer than men in the present, and why does this benefit increase over time? We only have partial evidence and the evidence isn't strong enough to make an unambiguous conclusion. We recognize that biological, behavioral and environmental factors all contribute to the fact that women have longer lives than men, However, we're not sure how much the influence of each of these factors is.

We have learned that women live longer than males, regardless of weight. But this isn't due to the fact that certain biological or non-biological factors have changed. The factors changing are numerous. Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. Certain are more complicated. 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 all countries are above the diagonal parity line , which means that in every country baby girls can expect to live for longer than a newborn boy.1

This chart illustrates that, although women have an advantage everywhere, علامات الحمل بولد cross-country differences could be significant. In Russia women have a longer life span than males; while in Bhutan the difference is less than half one year.

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In countries with high incomes, علامات الحمل بولد the women's advantage in longevity used to be smaller
Let's see how the female longevity advantage has changed over time. The chart below shows male and female life expectancies when they were born in the US in the years 1790 until 2014. Two specific points stand out.

The first is that there is an upward trend. Both genders in America live longer than they used to a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

Second, the gap is increasing: While the advantage of women in terms of life expectancy was very small It has significantly increased over time.

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