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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. Why do women live longer than men in the present and why is this difference growing over time? There isn't much evidence and we have only incomplete answers. While we are aware that there are biological, صبغ الشعر بالاسود behavioral and environmental factors which play a significant role in women who live longer than males, it isn't clear the extent to which each factor plays a role.

We know that women live longer than males, regardless of weight. However it is not because of certain biological or non-biological factors have changed. The factors changing are numerous. Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. Certain 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, 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 that a baby girl can be expected to live longer than a newborn boy.1

This graph shows that although women have an advantage throughout the world, the differences between countries are often significant. In Russia, women live for 10 years longer than males. In Bhutan there is a difference of only half a year.

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In countries with high incomes, the female advantage in longevity was not as great.
Let's look at how the female advantage in terms of longevity has changed over time. The following chart shows the male and female life expectancies at the birth in the US in the years 1790 to 2014. Two things stand out.

First, there's an upward trend. Both men as well as women in the US have a much longer life span longer than they did 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

And second, there is an ever-widening gap: female advantage in life expectancy used to be extremely small however it increased dramatically over the course of the last century.

You can confirm that these are applicable to other countries with information by clicking on the "Change country" option on the chart. This includes the UK, France, صبغ الشعر بالاسود and Sweden.