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Why do women have longer lives than men?

Wilford Tufnell (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's the main reason women are more likely to live longer than men? And why does this benefit increase in the past? The evidence isn't conclusive and we're left with only some solutions. We know that biological, behavioral and environmental factors contribute to the fact that women live longer than men; but we don't know exactly what the contribution of each factor is.

It is known that women live longer than males, regardless of weight. But this is not because of certain non-biological aspects have changed. The factors changing are numerous. Some are well known and 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.

Everywhere in the world women tend to live longer than men
The first chart below shows life expectancy at birth for men and ابر التخسيس women. It is clear that all countries are over the line of parity diagonally. This means that a newborn girl in all countries can expect to live longer than her younger brother.

It is interesting to note that although the female advantage exists everywhere, the cross-country differences are large. In Russia women are 10 years older than men; in Bhutan the difference is less than half a year.

The advantage for women in terms of life expectancy was lower in the richer countries as compared to the present.
Let's examine how the female longevity advantage has changed in the course of time. The chart below shows male and female life expectancies when they were born in the US from 1790-2014. Two aspects stand out.

The first is that there is an upward trend. Women and men in America have longer lives 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 an increase in the gap between men and women: female advantage in life expectancy used to be quite small however, it has increased significantly in the past century.

If you select the option "Change country from the chart, confirm that the two points also apply to the other countries with available data: Sweden, France and the UK.