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Why do women have longer lives than men?

Leandro Tilton (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 longer than men in the present and how is this difference growing over time? The evidence is sketchy and we're only able to provide incomplete answers. We know that biological, behavioral 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 one of these factors is.

In spite of how much number of pounds, we know that at least part of the reason why women live so much longer than men, but not previously, is to have to do with the fact that certain important non-biological aspects 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, اوضاع الجماع 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. We can see that every country is above the diagonal parity line , which means that in every country that a baby girl can be expected to live longer than a new boy.1

The chart below shows that even though women enjoy an advantage everywhere, cross-country differences could be significant. In Russia women live 10 years more than men. In Bhutan the gap is less that half a year.

In rich countries the longevity advantage for women was previously smaller.
Let's now look at the way that female advantages in longevity has changed over time. The following chart shows the men and women's life expectancies at the birth in the US during the period 1790 until 2014. Two specific points stand out.

The first is that there is an upward trend. Both men and women in the US live a lot, 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 an increase in the gap between men and women: female advantage in life expectancy used be extremely small however it increased dramatically over the last century.

Using the option 'Change country in the chart, you are able to verify that these two points apply to the other countries with available data: Sweden, France and the UK.