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 is the reason women live longer than men in the present and why does this benefit increase in the past? There is only limited evidence and the evidence is not sufficient to reach a definitive conclusion. We are aware that behavioral, biological and environmental factors all play a role in the fact that women have longer life spans than men, but we don’t know exactly how much the influence of each one of these factors is.

We are aware that women live longer than males, regardless of weight. However, 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 كيفية إقامة علاقة بالصور men and women. We can see that every country is above the diagonal parity line – which means that in every country a newborn girl can expect to live longer than a newborn boy.1

The chart below shows that although there is a women’s advantage everywhere, cross-country differences can be significant. In Russia women live 10 years longer than men. In Bhutan there is a difference of less than half a calendar year.

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In the richer countries, the women’s advantage in longevity used to be smaller

Let’s examine how the female longevity advantage has changed in the course of time. The next chart compares male and female life expectancies when they were born in the US during the time period between 1790 and 2014. Two areas stand out.

There is an upward trend. as well as women in the US are living much, much longer than they did 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

And second, there is an ever-widening gap: female advantage in terms of life expectancy used be extremely small but it increased substantially over the course of the last century.

You can confirm that these points are also applicable to other countries that have data by clicking on the “Change country” option in the chart. This includes the UK, France, and Sweden.

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