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Why are women living longer 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. What is the reason women live much longer than men today, and why is this difference growing in the past? There isn't much evidence and we're only able to provide limited answers. While we are aware that there are biological, behavioral and environmental factors that all play a role in women living longer than males, we aren't sure what percentage each factor plays in.

In spite of how much amount, we can say that a large portion of the reason women live so much longer than men do today however not as in the past, is to do with the fact that certain important non-biological aspects have changed. These factors 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. As we can see, every country is above the diagonal line of parity - it means that in all nations baby girls can expect to live for longer than a new boy.1

1 year agoInterestingly, this chart shows that while the female advantage is present everywhere, difference between countries is huge. In Russia women live 10 years more than men. In Bhutan the gap is just half a year.

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In wealthy countries, the advantage of women in longevity was not as great.
Let's now look at the way that female advantages in longevity has changed over time. The following chart shows the male and female lifespans when they were born in the US between 1790 and زيوت تطويل الشعر 2014. Two points stand out.

First, there is an upward trend. Men and women living in America are living longer than they used to 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

Second, the gap is increasing: While the advantage of women in life expectancy was quite small It has significantly increased over time.

If you select the option "Change country from the chart, you will be able to verify that these two points also apply to the other countries with available data: Sweden, France and the UK.