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Why women are more likely to live 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's the main reason women are more likely to live longer than men? What is the reason the advantage has grown in the past? We have only a small amount of evidence and the evidence isn't sufficient to draw a definitive conclusion. We know that biological, behavioral and environmental factors play a role in the fact that women are healthier than men; however, we do not know what the contribution to each of these variables is.

It is known that women live longer than men, regardless of their weight. But this is not because of certain non-biological aspects have changed. What are these new factors? Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. Others are more complicated. 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.

3 years agoEverywhere in the world women tend to live longer than men
The first chart below shows life expectancy at birth for تحاميل مهبلية men and women. It is clear that every country is over the diagonal line of parity. This implies that a baby girl in every country can be expected to live for longer than her older brother.

This chart is interesting in that it shows that although the female advantage is present everywhere, difference between countries is huge. In Russia, women live 10 years longer than men. In Bhutan there is a difference of only half a year.

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In wealthy countries, the longevity advantage for women was not as great.
Let's now look at how the female 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 from 1790 to 2014. Two specific points stand out.

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

There is an increasing gap: The female advantage in life expectancy used to be extremely small however it increased dramatically during the last century.

You can verify that the points you've listed are applicable to other countries with data by clicking the "Change country" option on the chart. This includes the UK, France, and Sweden.