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Why do women live longer than men?

Hassie Blaze (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. Why do women live much longer than men today and why have these advantages gotten bigger in the past? We have only a small amount of evidence and the evidence isn't sufficient to reach a definitive conclusion. We recognize that biological, behavioral and environmental factors all play a role in the fact that women are healthier than men; However, we're not sure how much the influence of each of these factors is.

It is known that women live longer than men, regardless of their weight. But this isn't due to the fact that certain biological factors 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. We can see that every country is above the diagonal parity line ; this means that in all countries that a baby girl can be expected to live longer than a new boy.1

This graph shows that although women have an advantage across all countries, differences between countries can be significant. In Russia women have an average of 10 years more than males; while in Bhutan the difference is just half an hour.

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In the richer countries, the female advantage in longevity was previously smaller.
Let's look at how female longevity advantage has changed over time. The chart below illustrates the gender-based and female-specific life expectancy at birth in the US in the years 1790 to 2014. Two specific points stand out.

There is an upward trend. Both men and women in the US have a much longer life span longer today than a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

Second, there's an increasing gap: زيوت تطويل الشعر The female advantage in terms of life expectancy used be very modest however it increased dramatically in the past century.

Using the option 'Change country' on the chart, you are able to verify that these two points are applicable to other countries that have available information: Sweden, France and the UK.