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Why are women living 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 women have a longer life span than men? And how is this difference growing over time? There is only limited evidence and the evidence is not strong enough to make an informed conclusion. We know that biological, behavioral and environmental factors all play a role in the fact that women live longer than men; however, we do not know how much the influence to each of these variables is.

We have learned that women live longer than males, regardless of weight. But 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, اوضاع الجماع 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. As we can see, every country is above the diagonal parity line , it means that in all nations that a baby girl can be expected to live longer than a new boy.1

This graph shows that even though women enjoy an advantage across all countries, differences between countries could be significant. In Russia women live for 10 years longer than males. In Bhutan, the difference is just half a year.

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The advantage for women in life expectancy was less in developed countries than it is now.
Let's examine how the advantage of women in life expectancy has changed over time. The chart below illustrates the male and female life expectancy at the time of birth in the US from 1790 to 2014. Two aspects stand out.

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

Second, the gap is widening: While the advantage of women in life expectancy was tiny, اوضاع الجماع it has increased substantially over time.

If you select the option "Change country from the chart, you can check that these two points apply to other countries that have available data: Sweden, France and the UK.