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Why do women have longer lives than men?

Merlin Dunstan (2022-04-22)

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 main reason women are more likely to live longer than men? And how is this difference growing as time passes? We only have partial evidence and the evidence is not sufficient to draw an unambiguous conclusion. We know there are biological, behavioral as well as environmental factors that all play a role in women living longer than males, we aren't sure what percentage each factor plays in.

It is known that women live longer than men, regardless of weight. However this isn't because of certain biological factors have changed. What are these factors that have changed? 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, all countries are above the diagonal parity line , which means that in every country baby girls can expect to live longer than a newborn boy.1

It is interesting to note that, while the advantage for women exists in all countries, country-specific differences are huge. In Russia women have a longer life span than men, كيفية إقامة علاقة بالصور -, while in Bhutan the gap is just half each year.

In wealthy countries, the women's advantage in longevity was smaller
Let's see how the female longevity advantage has changed in the course of time. The chart below illustrates the men and women's life expectancies at birth in the US in the years 1790 until 2014. Two specific points stand out.

The first is that there is an upward trend. Women and men living in America are living longer than they were 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 very small but it has risen significantly over time.

You can verify that these are applicable to other countries with data by selecting the "Change country" option in the chart. This includes the UK, France, and Sweden.