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Why do women live longer than men?

Jett Alvarado (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 have a longer life span than men? And how has this advantage gotten larger in the past? The evidence is limited and we're left with only incomplete solutions. While we are aware that there are behavioral, biological, and environmental factors that play an integral role in women living longer than men, we don't know how much each factor contributes.

In spite of the amount of weight, we are aware that at least part of the reason women live so much longer than men today and not in the past, has to relate to the fact that a number of 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. As we can see, every country is above the diagonal parity line ; this means in all countries the newborn girl is likely to live for longer than a newborn boy.1

This chart illustrates that, even though women enjoy an advantage throughout the world, the differences between countries could be significant. In Russia women live 10 years longer than males; while in Bhutan the difference is just half a year.

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The advantage for women in life expectancy was less in rich countries that it is today.
Let's examine how the female longevity advantage has changed in the course of time. The chart below illustrates the men and women's life expectancies at the time of birth in the US during the period 1790 to 2014. Two aspects stand out.

First, العاب زوجية there is an upward trend. Men and 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.

Second, there's an increase in the gap between men and women: العاب زوجية female advantage in terms of life expectancy used be very modest however, it has increased significantly over the last century.

If you select the option "Change country in the chart, you can confirm that the two points are also applicable to other countries that have available information: Sweden, France and the UK.