Why women are more likely to 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’s the reason why women live longer than men? And why has this advantage gotten larger over time? We only have a few clues and the evidence is not sufficient to support an absolute conclusion. Although we know that there are biological, behavioral as well as environmental factors that play an integral role in women’s longevity more than males, it isn’t clear what percentage each factor plays in.

In spite of the number of pounds, we know that at least part of the reason why women live longer than men today however not as previously, has to do with the fact that several key non-biological factors have changed. What are these factors that have changed? Some are well known and relatively straightforward, صبغ الشعر بالاسود (This Internet site) 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. It is clear that all countries are above the line of parity diagonally. This means that a newborn girl from every country could anticipate to live longer than her brother.

This chart illustrates that, even though women enjoy an advantage in all countries, the differences across countries can be significant. In Russia, women live 10 years longer than males. In Bhutan, the difference is less that half a year.



In the richer countries, the longevity advantage for women was smaller

Let’s look at how the advantage of women in longevity has changed over time. The next chart shows the male and female lifespans at birth in the US over the period 1790-2014. Two aspects stand out.

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

Second, the gap is widening: While the advantage of women in life expectancy was once quite small, it has increased substantially over time.

If you select the option “Change country’ on the chart, verify that these two points are applicable to other countries that have available information: Sweden, France and the UK.

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