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Why do women have longer lives than men?

Merlin Dunstan (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 much longer than men today and how is this difference growing over time? We only have a few clues and the evidence isn't sufficient to support an informed conclusion. We know that biological, behavioral and علامات الحمل بولد environmental factors all contribute to the fact that women are healthier than men; but we don't know exactly what the contribution of each of these factors is.

We are aware that women live longer than men, regardless of their weight. However this isn't due to the fact that certain non-biological factors have changed. What are these factors that have changed? Some are well known and علامات الحمل بولد relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. Some are more complex. 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.

2 years agoEverywhere in the world women tend to live longer than men
The first chart below shows life expectancy at birth for men and women. We can see that all countries are above the diagonal parity line , which means that in every country the newborn girl is likely to live longer than a new boy.1

This graph shows that while there is a female advantage in all countries, the differences across countries are often significant. In Russia women live 10 years more than males. In Bhutan, the difference is less than half a calendar year.

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The advantage women had in life expectancy was smaller in developed countries as compared to the present.
Let's look at how female longevity advantage has changed in the course of time. The chart below illustrates the men and women's life expectancies at the time of birth in the US during the period 1790-2014. Two points stand out.

First, there is an upward trend. Women and men living in America are living longer than they were 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: The female advantage in life expectancy used to be extremely small however it increased dramatically over the last century.

You can verify that the points you've listed are applicable to other countries that have information by clicking on the "Change country" option on the chart. This includes the UK, France, and Sweden.