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Why are women living longer than men?

Cassandra Benoit (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 live more than men do today and why have these advantages gotten bigger over time? We have only a small amount of evidence and the evidence isn't sufficient to draw an informed conclusion. We recognize that biological, behavioral and اوضاع الجماع ( environmental factors contribute to the fact that women have longer life spans than men, but we don't know exactly how strong the relative contribution of each of these factors is.

It is known that women live longer than men, regardless of their weight. However, this is not because of certain non-biological aspects have changed. What are these changing factors? Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. Others 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 you can see, every country is above the diagonal line of parity - which means that in every country that a baby girl can be expected to live longer than a newborn boy.1

This graph shows that while there is a female advantage everywhere, cross-country differences can be significant. In Russia women live 10 years longer than men. In Bhutan the difference is just half each year.

In rich countries the female advantage in longevity was previously smaller.
Let's look at how female longevity advantage has changed over time. The next chart shows male and female life expectancies when they were born in the US during the time period between 1790 and 2014. Two points stand out.

The first is that there is an upward trend. Women and men living in America are living longer than they used to 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

The gap is growing: Although the female advantage in life expectancy was once very small however, it has grown significantly with time.

If you select the option "Change country' on the chart, you are able to check that these two points are also applicable to other countries with available information: Sweden, France and the UK.