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Why women are more likely to live longer than men?

Ava Scutt (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 main reason women live longer than men? And how does this benefit increase in the past? We only have partial evidence and the evidence is not sufficient to support an informed conclusion. Although we know that there are biological, psychological 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 weight. But it is not due to the fact that certain non-biological factors have changed. These variables are evolving. 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. As you can see, all countries are 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 although there is a women's advantage in all countries, العاب زوجية the differences across countries can be substantial. In Russia women have an average of 10 years more than men, while in Bhutan the gap is less than half one year.

The advantage for women in life expectancy was less in rich countries as compared to the present.
Let's see how the female longevity advantage has changed over time. The following chart shows the men and women's life expectancies at the time of birth in the US from 1790 to 2014. Two distinct features stand out.

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

3-19.jpgThe gap is increasing: While the advantage of women in life expectancy was extremely small but it has risen significantly over time.

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