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Why women are more likely to live 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. What makes women live much longer than men today and how has this advantage increased in the past? We only have a few clues and the evidence isn't sufficient to support an unambiguous conclusion. We know that biological, behavioral and environmental factors contribute to the fact that women have longer life spans than men, however, we aren't sure how significant the impact of each factor is.

Independently of the exact number of pounds, we know that at least part of the reason women live longer than men in the present and not in the past, is to have to do with the fact that a number of important non-biological aspects have changed. The factors changing are numerous. Some are well known and ماذا يحدث بين الزوجين في الحمام بالصور relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. There are other issues that are more intricate. 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, ماذا يحدث بين الزوجين في الحمام بالصور 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 every country is above the diagonal line of parity. This means that a newborn girl from any country can be expected to live for longer than her brothers.

This chart illustrates that, although women have an advantage everywhere, cross-country differences can be substantial. In Russia women have an average of 10 years more than men, while in Bhutan the gap is less than half one year.

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The advantage women had in life expectancy was smaller in the richer countries than it is today.
Let's examine how the gender advantage in life expectancy has changed over time. The next chart plots the male and female lifespans when they were born in the US over the period 1790-2014. Two points stand out.

The first is that there is an upward trend. Men and women living in America are living longer than they did 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 be very small however, it has increased significantly in the past century.

When you click on the option "Change country by country' in the chart, you can confirm that the two points are applicable to other countries with available data: Sweden, France and the UK.