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 how has this advantage increased over time? There is only limited evidence and the evidence is not strong enough to make an unambiguous conclusion. We know there are biological, behavioral, glorynote.com and environmental factors which play a significant role in women living longer than men, we do not know how much each factor contributes.
In spite of the number of pounds, we know that at least part of the reason women live longer than men do today and not in the past, is to do with the fact that a number of 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. 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 every country is above the diagonal line of parity – which means that in every country the newborn girl is likely to live longer than a new boy.1
This graph shows that while there is a female advantage everywhere, cross-country differences can be significant. In Russia women are 10 years older than males; while in Bhutan the difference is just half one year.
The advantage of women in terms of life expectancy was lower in rich countries as compared to the present.
Let’s now look at how the advantage of women in longevity has changed over time. The following chart shows the male and female lifespans when they were born in the US over the period 1790-2014. Two areas stand out.
First, there’s an upward trend. Men and women in the US are living much, much longer today than a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.
Second, the gap is growing: Although the female advantage in terms of life expectancy was extremely small however, it has grown significantly with time.
If you select the option “Change country from the chart, you are able to check that these two points also apply to other countries with available data: Sweden, France and the UK.