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Why do women live longer than men?

Cassandra Benoit (2022-04-22)

51360170869_eccc7c82a5.jpgEverywhere 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 longer than men in the present and why have these advantages gotten bigger in the past? There isn't much evidence and we have only some answers. Although we know that there are biological, behavioral, and environmental factors that play an integral role in women living longer than men, we don't know what percentage each factor plays in.

We are aware that women live longer than men, regardless of their weight. But this isn't due to the fact that certain 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. 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. We can see that every country is over the diagonal line of parity. This means that a newborn girl in all countries can expect to live longer than her older brother.

The chart below shows that although women have an advantage throughout the world, the differences between countries are often significant. In Russia, women live for 10 years longer than men. In Bhutan the difference is less than half a calendar year.

In wealthy countries, the female advantage in longevity was previously smaller.
Let's examine how the female longevity advantage has changed in the course of time. The chart below illustrates the gender-based and كيفية ممارسة العلاقة الزوجية فى الاسلام female-specific life expectancy at birth in the US between 1790 to 2014. Two distinct points stand out.

First, there is an upward trend. Women and men living in America are living longer than they used to a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

The second is that there is an increasing gap: The female advantage in life expectancy used be very small but it increased substantially in the past century.

If you select the option "Change country in the chart, you can confirm that the two points also apply to the other countries with available data: Sweden, France and the UK.