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Why are women living longer than men?

Lona Fawcett (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 are more likely to live longer than men? Why does this benefit increase in the past? There is only limited evidence and the evidence isn't sufficient to draw a definitive conclusion. We know that behavioral, biological and environmental factors play a role in the fact that women have longer life spans than men, however, we do not know how much the influence of each factor is.

We are aware that women live longer than men, regardless of their weight. However, this is not due to the fact that certain non-biological factors have changed. What are these factors that have changed? Some are well known and relatively straightforward, افضل كريم للشعر 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 all countries are above the line of parity diagonally. This implies that a baby girl from every country could be expected to live for longer than her brothers.

It is interesting to note that although the female advantage exists across all countries, 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 advantage of women in terms of life expectancy was lower in countries with higher incomes than it is now.
Let's take a look at how the female longevity advantage has changed in the course of time. The chart below illustrates the male and female life expectancies at birth in the US between 1790 until 2014. Two points stand out.

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

Second, the gap is growing: Although the female advantage in life expectancy was once very small however, it has grown significantly over time.

If you select the option "Change country from the chart, you can determine if these two points are applicable to the other countries having available information: Sweden, France and the UK.