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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. What is the reason women are more likely to live longer than men? And how the advantage has grown over time? We have only a small amount of evidence and the evidence isn’t strong enough to make an informed conclusion. Although we know that there are behavioral, biological and environmental factors that all play a role in women who live longer than males, we aren’t sure how much each one contributes.

We know that women live longer than men, regardless of weight. However this is not due to the fact that certain non-biological aspects have changed. The factors changing are numerous. Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. Other 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 M.123cha.com/ip/?q=glorynote.com%2F%d8%a7%d9%84%d8%a7%d8%a8%d8%b1%d8%a7%d8%ac%2F/ 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 – this means in all countries the newborn girl is likely to live longer than a newborn boy.1

The chart below shows that while there is a female advantage throughout the world, the differences between countries can be substantial. In Russia women have a longer life span than men. In Bhutan the gap is less than half an hour.



The advantage for women in life expectancy was smaller in the richer countries as compared to the present.

Let’s look at how the female advantage in life expectancy has changed over time. The chart below shows male and female life expectancies at birth in the US between 1790 to 2014. Two points stand out.

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

The second is that there is an ever-widening gap: female advantage in life expectancy used to be very modest however, it has increased significantly during the last century.

It is possible to verify that the points you’ve listed are applicable to other countries with data by clicking on the “Change country” option in the chart. This includes the UK, France, and Sweden.

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