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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? Why the advantage has grown in the past? The evidence is limited and we’re left with only some answers. We know there are biological, behavioral, and environmental factors that play an integral role in women living longer than men, we don’t know the extent to which each factor plays a role.

In spite of the number of pounds, we know that at a minimum, the reason women live longer than men do today however not as in the past, is to relate to the fact that certain 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. As we can see, every country is above the diagonal line of parity – this means that in all countries that a baby girl can be expected to live longer than a newborn boy.1

It is interesting to note that although the female advantage exists across all countries, the country-specific differences are huge. In Russia, women live for 10 years longer than males. In Bhutan the gap is less that half a year.

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In the richer countries, Blockopedia.org/index.php/Why_Do_Women_Live_Longer_Than_Men the advantage of women in longevity was smaller

Let’s see how the female longevity advantage has changed over time. The following chart shows the men and women’s life expectancies at birth in the US during the period 1790 to 2014. Two aspects stand out.

First, there’s an upward trend. Both men and women in the US are living much, much longer than they did 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

Second, there’s a widening gap: The female advantage in terms of life expectancy used be extremely small however it increased dramatically over the last century.

It is possible to verify that these are applicable to other countries with information by clicking on the “Change country” option on the chart. This includes the UK, France, and Sweden.

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