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Why do women live longer than men?

Roma Glaze (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 reason women have a longer life span than men? And why does this benefit increase over time? The evidence is limited and we're left with only partial answers. We know that behavioral, biological and environmental factors all play a role in the fact that women have longer lives than men, however, we aren't sure how much the influence of each of these factors is.

In spite of the precise amount, we can say that at a minimum, the reason why women live longer than men, افضل شامبو وبلسم but not in the past, has to do with the fact that certain significant non-biological elements have changed. What are these new factors? Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. Other 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. It is clear that every country is over the diagonal line of parity. This implies that a baby girl from every country could be expected to live for longer than her older brother.

Interestingly, this chart shows that while the female advantage exists across all countries, the cross-country differences are large. In Russia women have an average of 10 years more than males; while in Bhutan the gap is less than half an hour.

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The female advantage in terms of life expectancy was lower in countries with higher incomes than it is now.
Let's examine the way that female advantages in terms of longevity has changed over time. The following chart shows the gender-based and female-specific life expectancy at birth in the US between 1790 to 2014. Two points stand out.

There is an upward trend. Men and women in the US live much, much longer than they did 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

Second, the gap is growing: Although the female advantage in life expectancy was once tiny, it has increased substantially with time.

It is possible to verify that these principles are also applicable to other countries that have data by selecting the "Change country" option in the chart. This includes the UK, افضل شامبو وبلسم France, and Sweden.