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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's the reason women are more likely to live longer than men? And العاب زوجية how the advantage has grown over time? There is only limited evidence and the evidence is not strong enough to make an absolute conclusion. We recognize that biological, behavioral and environmental factors play a role in the fact that women have longer life spans than men, however, we do not know how strong the relative contribution to each of these variables is.

In spite of how much weight, we know that at least a portion of the reason why women live so much longer than men in the present and not in the past, has to relate to the fact that several important non-biological aspects have changed. What are these new 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. We can see that every country is over the line of parity diagonally. This implies that a baby girl from any country can expect to live longer than her older brother.

This chart is interesting in that it shows that although the female advantage exists across all countries, the difference between countries is huge. In Russia, women live 10 years longer than men. In Bhutan the difference is less that half a year.

In the richer countries, the advantage of women in longevity was smaller
We will now examine how the gender advantage in longevity has changed with time. The chart below illustrates the male and female life expectancies at birth in the US from 1790 until 2014. Two distinct features stand out.

The first is that there is an upward trend. Both genders in America live longer than they did 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

There is an increase in the gap between men and العاب زوجية women: female advantage in terms of life expectancy used to be quite small but it increased substantially over the last century.

12318-1.jpgIf you select the option "Change country by country' in the chart, you are able to determine if these two points are also applicable to other countries with available information: Sweden, France and the UK.