Why are women living 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 longer than men in the present and how is this difference growing over time? The evidence is sketchy and we’re left with only some answers. We know there are biological, behavioral as well as environmental factors which play a significant role in women’s longevity more than men, we don’t know how much each factor contributes.

We know that women are living longer than males, regardless of weight. But it is not because of certain non-biological factors have changed. These factors 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 men and women. We can see that all countries are over the diagonal line of parity. This implies that a baby girl in every country can expect to live longer than her younger brother.

This chart is interesting in that it shows that, while the advantage for women exists everywhere, Blogswirl.in.net/profile/DonnaJenni the global differences are significant. In Russia women have a longer life span than men; in Bhutan the gap is less than half each year.



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

Let’s see how the female longevity advantage has changed in the course of time. The chart below shows male and female life expectancies when they were born in the US between 1790 until 2014. Two distinct features stand out.

There is an upward trend: Men and women in the US live much, much longer than they did a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

The gap is getting wider: Although the advantage of women in life expectancy used to be tiny however, it has grown significantly in the past.

You can verify that these are applicable to other countries with information by clicking on the “Change country” option on the chart. This includes the UK, France, and Sweden.

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