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Why are women living longer than men?

Marcos Flannery (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 makes women live more than men do today and how has this advantage increased in the past? We have only a small amount of evidence and the evidence is not strong enough to make an unambiguous conclusion. While we are aware that there are behavioral, biological, and environmental factors that play an integral role in women's longevity more than males, it isn't clear the extent to which each factor plays a role.

In spite of the precise amount, we can say that a large portion of the reason why women live so much longer than men in the present, but not in the past, is to have to do with the fact that a number of fundamental non-biological factors have changed. These factors are changing. Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. There are others that are more intricate. 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 افضل كريم للشعر survivors, ended up raising women's longevity disproportionately.

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The first chart below shows life expectancy at birth for men and women. We can see that all countries are above the diagonal parity line ; this means that in all countries the newborn girl is likely to live for longer than a newborn boy.1

This chart illustrates that, while there is a female advantage across all countries, differences between countries can be significant. In Russia, women live 10 years more than men. In Bhutan the difference is only half a year.

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The advantage for women in life expectancy was less in countries with higher incomes than it is now.
Let's look at how female longevity advantage has changed over time. The chart below shows men and women's life expectancies at birth in the US during the period 1790 to 2014. Two aspects stand out.

There is an upward trend. Women and men in the United States live longer than they used to a century 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 has increased significantly over the course of the last century.

By selecting 'Change Country' on the chart, determine if these two points also apply to other countries with available data: Sweden, France and the UK.