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Why do women have longer lives 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. Why do women live so more than men do today and why have these advantages gotten bigger over time? There is only limited evidence and صبغ الشعر بالاسود the evidence isn't sufficient to support an informed conclusion. While we are aware that there are behavioral, biological and environmental factors which play a significant role in the longevity of women over males, it isn't clear how much each factor contributes.

In spite of the amount of weight, we are aware that at least a portion of the reason women live so much longer than men do today, but not previously, is to have to do with the fact that several important 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 others 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, صبغ الشعر بالاسود 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. As you can see, all countries are above the diagonal line of parity - this means in all countries that a baby girl can be expected to live longer than a new boy.1

كاندوم-سيليكون-التنينThis chart shows that, while there is a female advantage everywhere, cross-country differences could be significant. In Russia women live 10 years longer than men. In Bhutan there is a difference of less than half a calendar year.

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The advantage of women in terms of life expectancy was lower in the richer countries than it is now.
Let's now look at how the gender advantage in terms of longevity has changed over time. The following chart shows the male and female life expectancies at the birth in the US between 1790 until 2014. Two points stand out.

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

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

You can verify that these principles are also applicable to other countries that have data by clicking the "Change country" option on the chart. This includes the UK, France, and Sweden.