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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. What is the reason women live longer than men? What is the reason is this difference growing over time? The evidence is sketchy and we're left with only limited answers. While we are aware that there are biological, behavioral as well as environmental factors that play an integral role in women's longevity more than men, we do not know the extent to which each factor plays a role.

Independently of the exact number of pounds, we know that at a minimum, the reason women live so much longer than men do today, but not previously, is to relate to the fact that a number of significant non-biological elements have changed. These variables are evolving. Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. Some are more complex. For ماذا يحدث بين الزوجين في الحمام بالصور 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 all countries are over the line of parity diagonally. This implies that a baby girl from every country could be expected to live for longer than her younger brother.

This chart illustrates that, although women have an advantage across all countries, differences between countries could be significant. In Russia women live 10 years longer than males; while in Bhutan the difference is just half each year.

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In countries with high incomes, the longevity advantage for women used to be smaller
We will now examine how the female advantage in life expectancy has changed over time. The next chart shows the life expectancy of males and females at birth in the US during the time period between 1790 and 2014. Two points stand out.

There is an upward trend: Men and women in the US live a lot, much longer than they did 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

There is an ever-widening gap: female advantage in terms of life expectancy used to be quite small however it increased dramatically during the last century.

Using the option 'Change country in the chart, you will be able to check that these two points also apply to other countries that have available information: Sweden, France and the UK.الحمل-ثقف-نفسك-2.jpg