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Why are women living 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. Why do women live so more than men do today and how is this difference growing over time? There isn't much evidence and we're only able to provide incomplete answers. We know that behavioral, biological and environmental factors all play a role in the fact that women are healthier than men; but we don't know exactly what the contribution to each of these variables is.

We have learned that women live longer than males, regardless of weight. But this is not due to the fact that certain non-biological aspects have changed. These variables are evolving. Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. There are others that are more intricate. For زيوت تطويل الشعر ( 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.

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The first chart below shows life expectancy at birth for men and women. We can see that all countries are above the diagonal line of parity - this means in all countries a newborn girl can expect to live for longer than a newborn boy.1

This chart is interesting in that it shows that although the female advantage exists across all countries, the global differences are significant. In Russia women live for 10 years longer than males. In Bhutan the gap is just half a year.

In the richer countries, the women's advantage in longevity was smaller
We will now examine how the gender advantage in life expectancy has changed over time. The following chart shows the male and female life expectancies when they were born in the US from 1790-2014. Two things stand out.

The first is that there is an upward trend. Women and men in America have longer lives than they were 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 used to be quite small but it has risen significantly with time.

When you click on the option "Change country from the chart, you are able to verify that these two points are also applicable to the other countries with available data: Sweden, France and the UK.