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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 more than men do today, and why does this benefit increase over time? We have only a small amount of evidence and the evidence is not strong enough to make an absolute conclusion. Although we know that there are behavioral, biological and environmental variables that play an integral role in women's longevity more than males, it isn't clear how much each factor contributes.

We are aware that women are living longer than men, regardless of their weight. But this isn't 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, ابر التخسيس 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. We can see that every country is above the diagonal parity line , it means that in all nations baby girls can expect to live longer than a new boy.1

This chart shows that, although women have an advantage in all countries, ابر التخسيس - - the differences across countries can be substantial. In Russia women live 10 years longer than males. In Bhutan the gap is only half a year.

The female advantage in life expectancy was less in countries with higher incomes as compared to the present.
Let's see how the female longevity advantage has changed over time. The next chart shows the life expectancy of males and females when they were born in the US over the period 1790-2014. Two aspects stand out.

First, there is an upward trend. Both genders living in America are living 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 growing: Although the female advantage in life expectancy was once extremely small but it has risen significantly in the past.

1 year agoIt is possible to verify that these principles are also applicable to other countries that have data by selecting the "Change country" option on the chart. This includes the UK, France, and Sweden.