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Why do women have longer lives than men?

Tawanna Cates (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 are more likely to live longer than men? And اوضاع الجماع how does this benefit increase over time? The evidence isn't conclusive and we only have incomplete answers. We recognize that biological, behavioral and environmental factors all play a role in the fact that women have longer life spans than men, اوضاع الجماع but we don't know exactly what the contribution of each factor is.

In spite of the number of pounds, we know that at least part of the reason women live so much longer than men do today, but not in the past, has to have to do with the fact that several significant non-biological elements 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. We can see that every country is above the diagonal parity line - which means that in every country the newborn girl is likely to live longer than a new boy.1

This chart illustrates that, although women have an advantage throughout the world, the differences between countries can be significant. In Russia women have a longer life span than males; while in Bhutan the gap is just half an hour.

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The female advantage in life expectancy was much lower in rich countries that it is today.
Let's see how the female longevity advantage has changed over time. The chart below illustrates the male and female life expectancy at the time of birth in the US between 1790 to 2014. Two areas stand out.

First, there is an upward trend. Men as well as women in the US live much, much longer than they did 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

The second is that there is a widening gap: The female advantage in life expectancy used to be very modest but it increased substantially in the past century.

By selecting 'Change Country by country' in the chart, you can verify that these two points are also applicable to the other countries with available data: Sweden, France and the UK.