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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 is the reason women have a longer life span than men? Why has this advantage gotten larger as time passes? We have only a small amount of evidence and the evidence isn't sufficient to support an unambiguous conclusion. Although we know that there are behavioral, biological, and environmental factors which play a significant role in women who live longer than males, we aren't sure what percentage each factor plays in.

In spite of the amount of weight, we are aware that at least part of the reason women live longer than men and not previously, has to do with the fact that some key non-biological factors have changed. What are these factors that have changed? Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. Others 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 all countries are over the diagonal line of parity. This means that a newborn girl in all countries can expect to live longer than her older brother.

This chart illustrates that, while there is a female advantage throughout the world, the differences between countries are often significant. In Russia women live 10 years longer than men. In Bhutan there is a difference of just half a year.

In the richer countries, the longevity advantage for صبغ الشعر بالاسود women was not as great.
Let's see how the female longevity advantage has changed in the course of time. The following chart shows male and female life expectancy when they were born in the US over the period 1790-2014. Two points stand out.

There is an upward trend. Both men as well as 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 second is that there is an increasing gap: The female advantage in life expectancy used to be very modest, but it grew substantially in the past century.

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