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Why do women have longer lives 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. Why do women live longer than men and why have these advantages gotten bigger over time? We have only a small amount of evidence and the evidence is not strong enough to make an absolute conclusion. Although we know that there are biological, behavioral as well as environmental factors that all play a role in women who live longer than males, we aren't sure how much each one contributes.

It is known that women live longer than men, regardless of their weight. However, this is not due to the fact that certain biological factors have changed. What are the factors that are changing? Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. Others 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, ابر التخسيس 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 ابر التخسيس women. It is clear that all countries are over the diagonal line of parity. This implies that a baby girl from every country could be expected to live for longer than her brother.

It is interesting to note that although the female advantage is present everywhere, country-specific differences are huge. In Russia, women live 10 years longer than males. In Bhutan the difference is just half a year.

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The female advantage in life expectancy was much lower in developed countries than it is now.
Let's take a look at how the female longevity advantage has changed over time. The following chart shows the male and female life expectancy at the birth in the US during the period 1790 to 2014. Two points stand out.

There is an upward trend. Both genders in America live longer than they used to 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

Second, the gap is getting wider: Although the female advantage in life expectancy was once quite small, it has increased substantially over time.

You can confirm that these principles are also applicable to other countries that have information by clicking on the "Change country" option in the chart. This includes the UK, France, and Sweden.