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Why do women have longer lives than men?


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 are more likely to live longer than men? And why the advantage has grown in the past? The evidence is limited and we have only limited solutions. Although we know that there are biological, behavioral and environmental factors which play a significant role in women living longer than men, we don’t know what percentage each factor plays in.

We are aware that women live longer than men, regardless of their weight. But it is not due to the fact that certain 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. Certain are more complicated. 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 above the line of parity diagonally. This means that a newborn girl in all countries can be expected to live for longer than her younger brother.

This chart is interesting in that it shows that although the female advantage exists in all countries, country-specific differences are huge. In Russia women live 10 years longer than men; in Bhutan the difference is less than half an hour.



The advantage of women in life expectancy was smaller in developed countries that it is today.

Let’s look at how female longevity advantage has changed over time. The following chart shows the life expectancy of males and females at birth in the US from 1790 to 2014. Two points stand out.

There is an upward trend. Women and men in America have longer lives than they used to 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

Second, ابر التخسيس there’s an ever-widening gap: female advantage in life expectancy used to be extremely small, but it grew substantially over the course of the last century.

Using the option ‘Change country in the chart, you will be able to verify that these two points also apply to the other countries with available information: Sweden, France and the UK.


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