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Why are women living longer than men?

Ferne Sisk (2022-04-23)

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 is the reason women live longer than men and why does this benefit increase in the past? The evidence is limited and we have only some solutions. We know that biological, behavioral and environmental factors contribute to the fact that women are healthier than men; but we don't know exactly what the contribution of each one of these factors is.

It is known that women live longer than men, regardless of their weight. However it is not due to the fact that certain non-biological aspects have changed. What are these changing factors? Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. Others 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, صبغ الشعر بالاسود especially for survivors, صبغ الشعر بالاسود ( 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 we can see, all countries are above the diagonal line of parity - it means that in all nations that a baby girl can be expected to live longer than a newborn boy.1

This chart is interesting in that it shows that while the female advantage exists across all countries, the global differences are significant. In Russia women are 10 years older than males; while in Bhutan the gap is just half each year.

The advantage for women in life expectancy was smaller in rich countries that it is today.
We will now examine how the gender advantage in terms of longevity has changed over time. The next chart compares the life expectancy of males and females when they were born in the US during the time period between 1790 and 2014. Two distinct points stand out.

First, there's an upward trend: Men as well as women in the US live much, much longer than they did 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

Second, the gap is widening: While the female advantage in life expectancy was once tiny but it has risen significantly over time.

By selecting 'Change Country in the chart, you will be able to determine if these two points are applicable to the other countries having available information: Sweden, France and the UK.