Why women are more likely to 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 why women are more likely to live longer than men? What is the reason is this difference growing in the past? We only have a few clues and the evidence is not strong enough to make a definitive conclusion. Although we know that there are behavioral, biological as well as environmental factors which all play a part in the longevity of women over men, we don’t know the extent to which each factor plays a role.

In spite of the precise amount of weight, we are aware that at least part of the reason why women live longer than men in the present and ابر التخسيس not previously, is to do with the fact that certain significant non-biological elements 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, 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 you can see, every country is above the diagonal line of parity – this means in all countries the newborn girl is likely to live for longer than a new boy.1

This chart shows that, while there is a female advantage throughout the world, the differences between countries can be substantial. In Russia women live 10 years longer than males. In Bhutan the gap is less that half a year.



In countries with high incomes, the women’s advantage in longevity was previously smaller.

Let’s now look at how the gender advantage in terms of longevity has changed over time. The following chart shows the male and female life expectancy at the time of birth in the US between 1790-2014. Two distinct points stand out.

First, there is an upward trend. Men and women in America live longer than they used to 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

The second is that there is an increasing gap: The female advantage in life expectancy used be very small but it increased substantially over the course of the last century.

Using the option ‘Change country’ on the chart, you are able to confirm that the two points are also applicable to other countries that have available information: Sweden, France and the UK.

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