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Why do women live longer than men?

Jetta Tedesco (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 is the reason women are more likely to live longer than men? What is the reason has this advantage gotten larger in the past? There isn't much evidence and we only have incomplete solutions. Although we know that there are biological, behavioral and environmental factors which all play a part in women living longer than males, we aren't sure how much each one contributes.

We have learned that women live longer than men, regardless of weight. But, this is not due to the fact that certain biological factors have changed. What are the factors that are changing? 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.

1292.jpgEverywhere 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 a newborn girl can expect to live longer than a new boy.1

The chart below shows that even though women enjoy an advantage throughout the world, the differences between countries can be significant. In Russia women have an average of 10 years more than men; in Bhutan the difference is less than half one year.

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In the richer countries, the advantage of women in longevity was smaller
Let's take a look at how the female longevity advantage has changed over time. The next chart shows male and female life expectancies at birth in the US during the time period between 1790 and 2014. Two points stand out.

First, there is an upward trend. Both men and علامات الحمل بولد women in the US live much, much longer today than a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

The gap is increasing: While the advantage of women in terms of life expectancy was quite small It has significantly increased in the past.

You can verify that these points are also applicable to other countries with information by clicking on the "Change country" option on the chart. This includes the UK, France, and Sweden.