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Why are women living longer 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 is the reason women live much longer than men today and why does this benefit increase in the past? There isn't much evidence and we have only partial solutions. While we are aware that there are biological, psychological as well as environmental factors which all play a part in women who live longer than males, we aren't sure how much each factor contributes.

It is known that women live longer than men, regardless of weight. But this isn't because of certain biological factors have changed. The factors changing are numerous. Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. There are others 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.

Everywhere in the world women tend to live longer than men
The first chart below shows life expectancy at birth for men and صبغ الشعر بالاسود women. We can see that all countries are over the line of parity diagonally. This means that a newborn girl in every country can be expected to live for longer than her older brother.

This chart illustrates that, even though women enjoy an advantage in all countries, the differences across countries can be substantial. In Russia women live 10 years longer than men. In Bhutan the gap is less than half an hour.

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The advantage of women in life expectancy was much lower in developed countries that it is today.
Let's examine how the advantage of women in longevity has changed over time. The following chart shows the life expectancy of males and females at birth in the US during the time period between 1790 and 2014. Two points stand out.

First, there is an upward trend. and women in the US have a much longer life span longer today than a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

The gap is getting wider: Although the female advantage in life expectancy used to be quite small but it has risen significantly with time.

When you click on the option "Change country in the chart, you will be able to check that these two points apply to other countries that have available information: Sweden, France and the UK.