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Why are women living longer 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 so longer than men in the present and why has this advantage increased in the past? The evidence is sketchy and we only have some answers. We know there are biological, psychological and environmental factors that all play a role in women who live longer than men, we do not know what percentage each factor plays in.

It is known that women live longer than men, regardless of their weight. But, this is not due to the fact that certain biological or non-biological factors have changed. What are these new factors? Some are well known and كيفية ممارسة العلاقة الزوجية فى الاسلام 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 you can see, every country is above the diagonal line of parity - this means that in all countries baby girls can expect to live for longer than a new boy.1

This graph shows that although women have an advantage in all countries, the differences across countries could be significant. In Russia women are 10 years older than men; in Bhutan the gap is less than half each year.

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The advantage for women in life expectancy was much lower in rich countries than it is today.
Let's look at how female longevity advantage has changed over time. The next chart compares the life expectancy of males and females at birth in the US during the time period between 1790 and 2014. Two specific points stand out.

First, there is an upward trend. Both genders in America have longer lives than they were a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

And second, there is an increasing gap: The female advantage in terms of life expectancy used to be quite small, but it grew substantially during the last century.

Using the option 'Change country from the chart, you will be able to verify that these two points also apply to other countries that have available data: Sweden, France and the UK.