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Why do women live longer than men?

Marcos Flannery (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 makes women live more than men do today and why is this difference growing in the past? The evidence isn't conclusive and we're only able to provide some solutions. We know that biological, صبغ الشعر بالاسود behavioral and environmental factors all contribute to the fact that women are healthier than men; but we don't know exactly how significant the impact of each factor is.

Independently of the exact amount of weight, we are aware that a large portion of the reason why women live so much longer than men today but not in the past, has to relate to the fact that some significant non-biological elements have changed. These factors are changing. Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. There are other issues that are more intricate. 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. We can see that all countries are above the diagonal parity line - which means that in every country baby girls can expect to live longer than a newborn boy.1

This chart illustrates that, although women have an advantage throughout the world, the differences between countries could be significant. In Russia women have an average of 10 years more than men; in Bhutan the gap is just half a year.

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In rich countries the women's advantage in longevity was not as great.
Let's see how the female longevity advantage has changed in the course of time. The next chart shows the life expectancy of males and females when they were born in the US from 1790 to 2014. Two things stand out.

First, there's an upward trend. and women in the US have a much longer life span longer today than a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

Second, the gap is growing: Although the female advantage in life expectancy used to be very small however, it has grown significantly in the past.

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