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Why women live longer than men?

Cathryn Richter (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 have a longer life span than men? Why is this difference growing over time? We have only a small amount of evidence and the evidence is not sufficient to support a definitive conclusion. While we are aware that there are behavioral, biological as well as environmental factors which play a significant role in women living longer than men, we do not know how much each factor contributes.

Independently of the exact number of pounds, we know that at least a portion of the reason why women live so much longer than men do today however not as previously, is to relate to the fact that a number of important non-biological aspects have changed. These factors are changing. 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. As you can see, every country is above the diagonal parity line ; this means that in all countries baby girls can expect to live longer than a newborn boy.1

Interestingly, this chart shows that although the female advantage exists everywhere, the cross-country differences are large. In Russia women live for 10 years longer than males. In Bhutan the gap is just half a year.

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The advantage women had in life expectancy was much lower in developed countries than it is now.
Let's examine the way that female advantages in life expectancy has changed over time. The following chart shows the men and women's life expectancies at the time of birth in the US in the years 1790-2014. Two distinct features stand out.

First, كيفية ممارسة العلاقة الزوجية فى الاسلام there is an upward trend: Men as well as women in the US are living much, much longer than they did a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

The gap is growing: Although the advantage of women in life expectancy was once quite small however, it has grown significantly over time.

You can check if these principles are also applicable to other countries that have data by selecting the "Change country" option on the chart. This includes the UK, France, and Sweden.