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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 main reason women have a longer life span than men? Why the advantage has grown as time passes? The evidence is limited and we're only able to provide incomplete answers. We know that biological, behavioral and environmental factors all play a role in 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 weight, العاب زوجية we know that at least part of the reason women live longer than men, but not in the past, has to relate to the fact that some significant non-biological elements have changed. These variables are evolving. Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. There are others that are more intricate. 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 every country is above the diagonal parity line , this means in all countries the newborn girl is likely to live longer than a newborn boy.1

This chart shows that, while there is a female advantage throughout the world, the differences between countries can be substantial. In Russia women live 10 years more than men. In Bhutan, the difference is less than half a calendar year.

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In countries with high incomes, the female advantage in longevity was previously smaller.
Let's look at how female longevity advantage has changed over time. The next chart plots the male and female lifespans at birth in the US between 1790 and 2014. Two distinct features stand out.

First, there is an upward trend: 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.

There is a widening gap: The female advantage in terms of life expectancy used to be quite small, but it grew substantially over the course of the last century.

You can confirm that these principles are also applicable to other countries with information by clicking on the "Change country" option in the chart. This includes the UK, France, and Sweden.