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. Why do women live so longer than men and how is this difference growing over time? The evidence isn’t conclusive and we’re left with only limited solutions. While we are aware that there are behavioral, biological and environmental factors which play a significant role in women who live longer than men, we do not know the extent to which each factor plays a role.

We are aware that women are living longer than men, regardless of weight. But, this is not because of certain biological factors have changed. These are the factors that are changing. 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 موقع تزويد مشاهدات men and women. We can see that every country is over the line of parity diagonally. This means that a newborn girl from every country could anticipate to live longer than her older brother.

The chart above shows that although the female advantage exists in all countries, cross-country differences are large. In Russia, women live for 10 years longer than men. In Bhutan the difference is only half a year.



The advantage for women in terms of life expectancy was lower in developed countries than it is now.

Let’s now look at how the advantage of women in life expectancy has changed over time. The following chart shows the male and female life expectancy at birth in the US from 1790-2014. Two areas stand out.

The first is that there is an upward trend. Women and men in America have longer lives than they did a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

There is an increase in the gap between men and women: female advantage in terms of life expectancy used be very small however, it has increased significantly over the last century.

By selecting ‘Change Country in the chart, you can check that these two points are applicable to other countries that have available data: Sweden, France and the UK.

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