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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 why is this difference growing over time? The evidence is sketchy and we're only able to provide incomplete solutions. We are aware that behavioral, biological and environmental factors all contribute to the fact that women are healthier than men; but we don't know exactly how strong the relative contribution of each factor is.

Independently of the exact amount of weight, we are aware that at least part of the reason why women live so much longer than men in the present, but not in the past, is to do with the fact that a number of significant non-biological elements have changed. What are the factors that are changing? Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. Certain 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 اوضاع الجماع men and women. We can see that every country is above the diagonal parity line - this means that in all countries that a baby girl can be expected to live longer than a new boy.1

It is interesting to note that although the female advantage exists in all countries, country-specific differences are huge. In Russia women live for 10 years longer than men. In Bhutan, the difference is only half a year.

In rich countries the longevity advantage for women was smaller
Let's now look at how the advantage of women in terms of longevity has changed over time. The next chart plots male and female life expectancies when they were born in the US during the time period between 1790 and 2014. Two distinct features stand اوضاع الجماع out.

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

lipedemiaandperiodontitisarticlejournaloThere is an ever-widening gap: female advantage in life expectancy used be extremely small but it increased substantially in the past century.

Using the option 'Change country' on the chart, verify that these two points apply to the other countries with available information: Sweden, France and the UK.