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Why are women living longer than men?

Sienna Wunderly (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 so much longer than men today and how is this difference growing in the past? The evidence is sketchy and we're only able to provide limited answers. We know that biological, behavioral and environmental factors contribute to the fact that women have longer lives than men, however, we do not know how significant the impact of each of these factors is.

742051978.jpgWe know that women live longer than men, regardless of their weight. But this is not due to the fact that certain non-biological factors have changed. What are these new factors? Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. Certain 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, كيفية إقامة علاقة 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. It is clear that every country is over the diagonal line of parity. This means that a newborn girl from any country can anticipate to live longer than her younger brother.

This chart is interesting in that it shows that, while the advantage for women exists across all countries, the difference between countries is huge. In Russia women have a longer life span than males; while in Bhutan the gap is just half a year.

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In wealthy countries, the longevity advantage for women was previously smaller.
We will now examine how the gender advantage in life expectancy has changed over time. The chart below illustrates the male and female life expectancy at birth in the US during the period 1790-2014. Two points stand out.

There is an upward trend. Men and women in America have longer lives than they were 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

Second, the gap is getting wider: Although the advantage of women in life expectancy used to be very small however, it has grown significantly over time.

By selecting 'Change Country' on the chart, you will be able to determine if these two points also apply to other countries that have available information: Sweden, France and the UK.