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Why women are more likely to live longer than men?

Wilford Tufnell (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 reason why women live longer than men? And why has this advantage gotten larger as time passes? There isn't much evidence and العاب زوجية we have only limited answers. We recognize that biological, behavioral and environmental factors contribute to the fact that women are healthier than men; however, we aren't sure how strong the relative contribution of each factor is.

Independently of the exact amount, we can say that at least a portion of the reason women live so much longer than men in the present however not as previously, is to relate to the fact that several fundamental non-biological factors have changed. The factors changing are numerous. Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. There are other issues 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. It is clear that every country is over the diagonal line of parity. This implies that a baby girl in every country can expect to live longer than her older brother.

This chart is interesting in that it shows that, while the advantage for women exists in all countries, country-specific differences are huge. In Russia, women live for 10 years longer than males. In Bhutan the gap is just half a year.

In the richer countries, the longevity advantage for women was smaller
Let's examine how the gender advantage in longevity has changed over time. The chart below shows men and women's life expectancies at the time of birth in the US during the period 1790 to 2014. Two distinct features stand out.

The first is that there is an upward trend. Men as well as women in the US have a much longer life span longer today than a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

The second is that there is a widening gap: العاب زوجية The female advantage in life expectancy used to be very small however, it has increased significantly during the last century.

When you click on the option "Change country' on the chart, you can check that these two points also apply to other countries with available data: Sweden, France and the UK.