Why do women live longer than men?

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 women are more likely to live longer than men? What is the reason does this benefit increase as time passes? There is only limited evidence and the evidence is not sufficient to reach an absolute conclusion. Although we know that there are behavioral, biological and environmental factors that all play a role in women who live longer than males, we aren’t sure what percentage each factor plays in.

We have learned that women are living longer than men, regardless of weight. But this is not due to the fact that certain biological or non-biological factors have changed. What are these factors that have changed? 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, العاب زوجية 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. It is clear that all countries are above the line of parity diagonally. This implies that a baby girl in every country can be expected to live for longer than her younger brother.

This graph shows that although women have an advantage in all countries, the differences across countries could be significant. In Russia women have an average of 10 years more than males; while in Bhutan the difference is just half one year.

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In rich countries the women’s advantage in longevity was previously smaller.

Let’s see how the female longevity advantage has changed in the course of time. The following chart shows the gender-based and female-specific life expectancy when they were born in the US from 1790 to 2014. Two things stand out.

First, there’s an upward trend. Both 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.

The second is that there is a widening gap: The female advantage in life expectancy used to be quite small however it increased dramatically in the past century.

When you click on the option «Change country by country’ in the chart, you will be able to check that these two points are also applicable to the other countries having available information: Sweden, France and the UK.

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