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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. What's the main reason women are more likely to live longer than men? Why is this difference growing in the past? The evidence is sketchy and we're only able to provide limited answers. We know that biological, behavioral and environmental factors contribute to the fact that women have longer lives than men, however, we do not know what the contribution to each of these variables is.

In spite of the weight, we know that at least part of the reason women live so much longer than men do today and not previously, has to have to do with the fact that several important non-biological aspects have changed. These variables are evolving. 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 we can see, all countries are above the diagonal line of parity - this means that in all countries that a baby girl can be expected to live for longer than a newborn boy.1

This chart shows that, although women have an advantage in all countries, the differences across countries can be substantial. In Russia women live 10 years longer than men; in Bhutan the difference is less than half a year.

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In countries with high incomes, the female advantage in longevity was smaller
Let's look at the way that female advantages in longevity has changed over time. The next chart compares male and female life expectancies when they were born in the US between 1790 and 2014. Two things stand out.

The first is that there is an upward trend. as well as 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.

The gap is widening: While the female advantage in life expectancy was once very small, العاب زوجية it has increased substantially in the past.

139209230824004631731914.jpgIf you select the option "Change country from the chart, you will be able to check that these two points are also applicable to the other countries with available information: Sweden, France and the UK.