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Why are women living longer than men?

Mellissa Rodman (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. Why do women live much longer than men today and why has this advantage increased over time? The evidence is limited and we only have partial solutions. We know that behavioral, biological and environmental factors contribute to the fact that women are healthier than men; however, we do not know how strong the relative contribution of each factor is.

We are aware that women are living longer than men, regardless of their weight. But this isn't because of certain biological or non-biological factors have changed. These variables are evolving. Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. There are others that are more intricate. For ابر التخسيس ( 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 every country is over the line of parity diagonally. This means that a newborn girl in all countries can be expected to live for longer than her brothers.

This chart is interesting in that it shows that, while the advantage for women is present everywhere, cross-country differences are large. In Russia women live for 10 years longer than males. In Bhutan the gap is less that half a year.

In the richer countries, the female advantage in longevity was not as great.
Let's see how the female longevity advantage has changed in the course of time. The following chart shows the male and female life expectancy when they were born in the US between 1790 to 2014. Two distinct points stand out.

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

There is a widening gap: The female advantage in life expectancy used to be very small, but it grew substantially in the past century.

When you click on the option "Change country in the chart, you will be able to verify that these two points are applicable to the other countries with available data: Sweden, France and the UK.