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Why do women have longer lives 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. What is the reason women are more likely to live longer than men? Why does this benefit increase in the past? The evidence is sketchy and we're only able to provide incomplete answers. We know that biological, behavioral and environmental factors all play a role in the fact that women are healthier than men; however, we aren't sure how much the influence of each one of these factors is.

We are aware that women are living longer than men, regardless of weight. But, this is not due to the fact that certain biological factors have changed. These factors are changing. Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. There are others 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 اوضاع الجماع 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 all countries are over the line of parity diagonally. This means that a newborn girl in every country can expect to live longer than her brother.

The chart above shows that while the female advantage exists across all countries, the global differences are significant. In Russia, women live 10 years longer than men. In Bhutan the difference is only half a year.

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In countries with high incomes, the longevity advantage for women used to be smaller
Let's now look at the way that female advantages in longevity has changed over time. The following chart shows the gender-based and female-specific life expectancy when they were born in the US from 1790 to 2014. Two areas stand out.

There is an upward trend. Women and men in America have longer lives than they used to a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

There is an increasing gap: The female advantage in terms of life expectancy used to be very small, اوضاع الجماع but it grew substantially over the last century.

It is possible to verify that these are applicable to other countries with data by clicking the "Change country" option on the chart. This includes the UK, France, and Sweden.