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Why women live longer than men?

Jett Alvarado (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 longer than men in the present and why has this advantage increased over time? We only have partial evidence and the evidence isn't sufficient to draw an unambiguous conclusion. Although we know that there are biological, behavioral as well as environmental factors which all play a part in women who live longer than men, we don't know how much each factor contributes.

We have learned that women live longer than males, regardless of weight. However it is not due to the fact that certain non-biological aspects have changed. What are the factors that 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. We can see that every country is above the diagonal line of parity. This means that a newborn girl in every country can anticipate to live longer than her younger brother.

Interestingly, this chart shows that, while the advantage for women is present everywhere, global differences are significant. In Russia women live 10 years more than men. In Bhutan the gap is only half a year.

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The female advantage in terms of life expectancy was lower in countries with higher incomes than it is now.
We will now examine the way that female advantages in longevity has changed with time. The next chart plots male and female life expectancies at birth in the US between 1790 and 2014. Two points stand out.

The first is that there is an upward trend. Women and men in America live longer than they did 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

6 years agoSecond, the gap is widening: While the advantage of women in life expectancy used to be very small however, صبغ الشعر بالاسود it has grown significantly with time.

You can verify that the points you've listed are applicable to other countries with information by clicking on the "Change country" option on the chart. This includes the UK, France, صبغ الشعر بالاسود and Sweden.