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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’s the reason why women live longer than men? And why has this advantage gotten larger in the past? We have only a small amount of evidence and the evidence isn’t sufficient to support an unambiguous conclusion. We know there are behavioral, biological 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.

It is known that women live longer than males, regardless of weight. However this isn’t because of certain non-biological aspects have changed. What are these new factors? 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 – it means that in all nations a newborn girl can expect to live for longer than a newborn boy.1

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



In rich countries the women’s advantage in longevity was not as great.

Let’s look at the way that female advantages in longevity has changed with time. The next chart compares the life expectancy of males and females when they were born in the US over the period 1790-2014. Two things stand out.

The first is that there is an upward trend. Men and women in America live longer than they were 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

There is an ever-widening gap: http://fakeplanes.tech/wiki/index.php/Why_Women_Are_More_Likely_To_Live_Longer_Than_Men (click through the up coming web site) (click through the up coming web site) female advantage in terms of life expectancy used be very modest but it increased substantially during the last century.

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

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