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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 live longer than men? What is the reason does this benefit increase in the past? We only have partial evidence and the evidence isn't sufficient to reach an unambiguous conclusion. We know there are biological, behavioral and environmental variables that all play a role in women's longevity more than men, we do not know the extent to which each factor plays a role.

We are aware that women live longer than males, regardless of weight. However this isn't because of certain non-biological aspects have changed. What are these factors that have changed? Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. Certain 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. It is clear that every country is over the diagonal line of parity. This implies that a baby girl from every country could anticipate to live longer than her older brother.

This chart is interesting in that it shows that the advantage of women exists in all countries, افضل كريم للشعر difference between countries is huge. In Russia women have an average of 10 years more than men; in Bhutan the difference is just half one year.

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In rich countries the female advantage in longevity was smaller
Let's examine how the female longevity advantage has changed over time. The next chart plots the life expectancy of males and females when they were born in the US during the time period between 1790 and 2014. Two things stand out.

First, there is an upward trend. Both genders living in America are living longer than they used to a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

Second, there's a widening gap: The female advantage in terms of life expectancy used to be very modest but it increased substantially over the course of the last century.

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