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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 does this benefit increase in the past? We only have a few clues and the evidence is not strong enough to make an unambiguous conclusion. We recognize that biological, behavioral and environmental factors all contribute to the fact that women have longer lives than men, However, we're not sure how significant the impact of each factor is.

It is known that women live longer than males, regardless of weight. But, this is not due to the fact that certain biological or non-biological factors have changed. These are the factors that are changing. 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 all countries are above the diagonal line of parity. This means that a newborn girl from any country can anticipate to live longer than her younger brother.

330px-Parallel_Relationship_-_InfidelityThe chart above shows that although the female advantage exists in all countries, country-specific differences are huge. In Russia women live 10 years more than males. In Bhutan there is a difference of less than half a calendar year.

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In the richer countries, the female advantage in longevity used to be smaller
Let's now look at how the gender advantage in life expectancy has changed over time. The next chart plots male and female life expectancy when they were born in the US from 1790 to 2014. Two points stand out.

There is an upward trend. as well as women in the US are living much, كيفية إقامة علاقة بالصور much longer than they did 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

Second, there's an ever-widening gap: female advantage in life expectancy used be very small however, it has increased significantly during the last century.

When you click on the option "Change country in the chart, you will be able to check that these two points apply to the other countries having available information: Sweden, France and the UK.