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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. What is the reason women live longer than men in the present, and why is this difference growing in the past? We have only a small amount of evidence and the evidence is not sufficient to support a definitive conclusion. We know there are behavioral, biological and environmental variables that all play a role in the longevity of women over males, it isn't clear how much each factor contributes.

We have learned that women live longer than men, regardless of their weight. However, this is not because of certain non-biological aspects 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, افضل شامبو وبلسم especially for survivors, ended up raising women's longevity disproportionately.

1771-9.jpgEverywhere in the world women tend to live longer than men
The first chart below shows life expectancy at birth for men and افضل شامبو وبلسم women. As you can see, every country is above the diagonal parity line ; this means that in all countries the newborn girl is likely to live longer than a newborn boy.1

This chart shows that, although there is a women's advantage everywhere, cross-country differences can be substantial. In Russia women live 10 years longer than males. In Bhutan, the difference is less that half a year.

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In countries with high incomes, the female advantage in longevity was smaller
Let's look at how female longevity advantage has changed in the course of time. The next chart shows the male and female lifespans when they were born in the US over the period 1790-2014. Two points stand out.

First, there's an upward trend. Both men as well as women in the US are living much, much longer than they did 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

Second, there's an increase in the gap between men and women: female advantage in life expectancy used be very modest, but it grew substantially in the past century.

Using the option 'Change country by country' in the chart, you are able to verify that these two points apply to other countries with available data: Sweden, France and the UK.