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Why do women live longer than men?

Shawnee Kiley (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 is the reason women live much longer than men today, and why has this advantage increased over time? The evidence isn't conclusive and we have only limited answers. We are aware that behavioral, biological and كيفية إقامة علاقة بالصور environmental factors all play a role in the fact that women have longer life spans than men, but we don't know exactly what the contribution of each factor is.

It is known that women live longer than men, regardless of weight. However this isn't due to the fact that certain non-biological aspects have changed. What are these changing factors? 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. It is clear that all countries are above the line of parity diagonally. This implies that a baby girl from any country can expect to live longer than her brother.

This chart shows that, while there is a female advantage throughout the world, the differences between countries can be substantial. In Russia women have a longer life span than males; while in Bhutan the difference is less than half one year.

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The advantage women had in life expectancy was less in developed countries as compared to the present.
Let's take a look at how the female longevity advantage has changed over time. The next chart plots male and female life expectancy at birth in the US during the time period between 1790 and 2014. Two points stand out.

The first is that there is an upward trend. Men and women 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 widening: While the female advantage in life expectancy was extremely small It has significantly increased with time.

By selecting 'Change Country from the chart, you are able to check that these two points also apply to other countries that have available data: Sweden, France and the UK.