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Why do women have longer lives than men?

Kimberly Castleberry (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 why have these advantages gotten bigger over time? The evidence is limited and we have only limited solutions. Although we know that there are biological, behavioral as well as environmental factors that all play a role in women who live longer than males, we aren't sure what percentage each factor plays in.

Independently of the exact amount of weight, we are aware that at least a portion of the reason why women live so much longer than men today however not as previously, is to have to do with the fact that certain key non-biological factors have changed. What are these factors that have changed? Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. Other 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, اضيق وضعية للجماع 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 ; it means that in all nations that a baby girl can be expected to live for longer than a new boy.1

The chart above shows that although the female advantage exists across all countries, the country-specific differences are huge. In Russia, women live 10 years more than men. In Bhutan there is a difference of just half a year.

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The advantage women had in life expectancy was less in rich countries than it is today.
Let's look at the way that female advantages in life expectancy has changed over time. The chart below shows male and female life expectancies at the time of birth in the US between 1790-2014. Two points stand out.

There is an upward trend. Both men as well as women in the US live much, much longer than they did a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

There is an increase in the gap between men and women: female advantage in terms of life expectancy used be extremely small however, it has increased significantly in the past century.

By selecting 'Change Country in the chart, you can determine if these two points also apply to other countries that have available information: Sweden, اضيق وضعية للجماع France and the UK.