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Why women are more likely to live longer than men?

Ava Scutt (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 makes women live longer than men in the present and why have these advantages gotten bigger in the past? There isn't much evidence and we're only able to provide limited solutions. We know there are biological, behavioral and environmental variables which all play a part in women living longer than men, we don't know how much each one contributes.

d3f518c7-b5da-41f9-8b56-d6c223907714-jpeWe are aware that women live longer than males, regardless of weight. However, this is not because of certain biological or non-biological factors have changed. These variables are evolving. Some are well known and relatively straightforward, افضل شامبو وبلسم like the fact that men smoke more often. Other 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 line of parity - this means that in all countries the newborn girl is likely to live longer than a newborn boy.1

This chart illustrates that, although women have an advantage across all countries, differences between countries are often significant. In Russia, women live for 10 years longer than men. In Bhutan the difference is only half a year.

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

There is an upward trend. Both genders in America have longer lives than they did a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

The gap is increasing: While the advantage of women in life expectancy was extremely small, it has increased substantially over time.

If you select the option "Change country by country' in the chart, you will be able to verify that these two points also apply to the other countries having available data: Sweden, France and the UK.