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Why women live longer than men?

Vilma Santora (2022-04-21)

tafsiribnukatsirmuhaqqoq001-110113010227Everywhere 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 main reason women live longer than men? And how has this advantage gotten larger as time passes? We have only a small amount of evidence and the evidence isn't sufficient to reach an unambiguous conclusion. We know there are biological, psychological as well as environmental factors which play a significant role in the longevity of women over males, we aren't sure how much each one contributes.

Independently of the exact number of pounds, we know that at least part of the reason women live longer than men do today, but not previously, has to have to do with the fact that a number of important non-biological aspects have changed. These variables are evolving. Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. There are others 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, 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 you can see, all countries are above the diagonal parity line - this means that in all countries baby girls can expect to live longer than a newborn boy.1

Interestingly, this chart shows that while the female advantage exists across all countries, the global differences are significant. In Russia women are 10 years older than males; while in Bhutan the gap is less than half one year.

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

There is an upward trend. Women and men in the United States live longer than they were a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

Second, the gap is increasing: علامات الحمل بولد While the female advantage in life expectancy used to be tiny but it has risen significantly over time.

When you click on the option "Change country by country' in the chart, you will be able to verify that these two points apply to other countries with available information: Sweden, France and the UK.