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Why do women have longer lives than men?

Analisa Wingfield (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 more than men do today, and why is this difference growing over time? The evidence isn't conclusive and we're left with only some answers. We recognize that biological, behavioral and environmental factors all play a role in the fact that women have longer lives than men, However, we're not sure how significant the impact to each of these variables is.

We know that women live longer than males, regardless of weight. But this isn't because of certain non-biological factors have changed. The factors changing are numerous. Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. Others are more complex. 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, ماذا يحدث بين الزوجين في الحمام بالصور 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 in all countries can be expected to live for longer than her older brother.

It is interesting to note that although the female advantage exists everywhere, the cross-country differences are large. In Russia women have a longer life span than men; in Bhutan the difference is just half an hour.

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The advantage women had in life expectancy was much lower in rich countries as compared to the present.
We will now examine how the advantage of women in life expectancy has changed over time. The chart below shows male and female life expectancies at birth in the US during the period 1790-2014. Two distinct features 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.

The gap is getting wider: Although the advantage of women in terms of life expectancy was very small however, it has grown significantly with time.

If you select the option "Change country in the chart, check that these two points also apply to other countries that have available data: Sweden, France and the UK.