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Why women are more likely to live longer 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. What's the reason why women live longer than men? What is the reason is this difference growing in the past? The evidence is limited and we only have some answers. We recognize that biological, behavioral and environmental factors all contribute to the fact that women live longer than men; However, we're not sure how strong the relative contribution of each one of these factors is.

In spite of how much amount of weight, we are aware that a large portion of the reason women live so much longer than men in the present and not in the past, has to do with the fact that some important non-biological aspects have changed. These are the factors that are changing. 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.

%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A3%D9%83%D8%A7%D8%B0%D9%Everywhere in the world women tend to live longer than men
The first chart below shows life expectancy at birth for men and العاب زوجية women. As you can see, every country is above the diagonal parity line , which means that in every country that a baby girl can be expected to live longer than a new boy.1

The chart above shows that although the female advantage exists everywhere, the country-specific differences are huge. In Russia women live 10 years longer than males. In Bhutan, the difference is less that half a year.

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In the richer countries, the female advantage in longevity used to be smaller
Let's see how the female longevity advantage has changed in the course of time. The next chart plots male and female life expectancies at birth in the US from 1790 to 2014. Two aspects 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.

Second, the gap is increasing: While the advantage of women in life expectancy used to be tiny however, it has grown significantly with time.

You can check if 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.