Why do women have longer lives 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 live longer than men? And how has this advantage gotten larger over time? The evidence isn’t conclusive and we’re only able to provide incomplete answers. We are aware that behavioral, biological and environmental factors play a role in the fact that women are healthier than men; but we don’t know exactly how much the influence of each factor is.

In spite of the weight, we know that a large portion of the reason women live longer than men however not as previously, is to relate to the fact that some fundamental 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. There are other issues that are more intricate. 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, Animalcarecontrol.org/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=glorynote.com%2F%25d8%25b4%25d8%25b9%25d8%25b1%2F 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 means that a newborn girl in all countries can anticipate to live longer than her brother.

The chart below shows that although there is a women’s advantage across all countries, differences between countries can be significant. In Russia women live 10 years more than males. In Bhutan there is a difference of less than half a calendar year.



In rich countries the advantage of women in longevity was not as great.

Let’s see how the female longevity advantage has changed in the course of time. The chart below shows male and female life expectancies at the birth in the US during the period 1790-2014. Two specific points stand out.

There is an upward trend. Both men as well as women in the US have a much longer life span longer today than a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

And second, there is an increasing gap: The female advantage in terms of life expectancy used to be extremely small but it increased substantially in the past century.

It is possible to verify that these points are also applicable to other countries that have data by selecting the “Change country” option in the chart. This includes the UK, France, and Sweden.

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