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Why women live longer than men?

Lona Talbott (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 main reason women have a longer life span than men? And why is this difference growing over time? We only have a few clues and the evidence isn't sufficient to support a definitive conclusion. We know that behavioral, biological and environmental factors all contribute to the fact that women are healthier than men; However, we're not sure how much the influence to each of these variables is.

Independently of the exact weight, we know that at least part of the reason women live longer than men in the present, but not previously, is to be due to the fact that some important non-biological aspects have changed. What are these factors that have changed? 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 survivors, العاب زوجية 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. It is clear that every country is above the line of parity diagonally. This means that a newborn girl in all countries can anticipate to live longer than her older brother.

It is interesting to note that, while the advantage for women exists everywhere, the global differences are significant. In Russia women live 10 years more than men. In Bhutan, the difference is just half a year.

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The female advantage in life expectancy was less in the richer countries as compared to the present.
Let's see how the female longevity advantage has changed in the course of time. The next chart shows the life expectancy of males and females when they were born in the US during the time period between 1790 and 2014. Two aspects stand out.

The first is that there is an upward trend. Women and men 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.

There is an ever-widening gap: female advantage in life expectancy used to be quite small, but it grew substantially over the course of the last century.

When you click on the option "Change country by country' in the chart, you will be able to determine if these two points apply to the other countries having available data: Sweden, France and the UK.1292.jpg