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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. What is the reason women are more likely to live longer than men? What is the reason is this difference growing as time passes? There is only limited evidence and the evidence is not strong enough to make an unambiguous conclusion. We recognize that biological, behavioral and environmental factors all play a role in the fact that women have longer lives than men, however, we do not know how strong the relative contribution to each of these variables is.

In spite of the precise amount of weight, we are aware that at a minimum, the reason why women live so much longer than men today but not previously, is to do with the fact that several important non-biological aspects have changed. The factors changing are numerous. Some are well known and relatively straightforward, علامات الحمل بولد like the fact that men smoke more often. Other 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, every country is above the diagonal line of parity - this means that in all countries that a baby girl can be expected to live for longer than a newborn boy.1

This graph shows that although women have an advantage everywhere, cross-country differences could be significant. In Russia women have an average of 10 years more than men, while in Bhutan the difference is just half a year.

In rich countries the longevity advantage for women was smaller
Let's look at the way that female advantages in longevity has changed over time. The next chart plots male and female life expectancy when they were born in the US over the period 1790-2014. Two points stand out.

First, there is an upward trend. Both genders in the United States live longer than they did 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

And second, علامات الحمل بولد there is a widening gap: The female advantage in life expectancy used to be very small but it increased substantially over the course of the last century.

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