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. Why do women live so more than men do today and why have these advantages gotten bigger in the past? The evidence is sketchy and we only have incomplete answers. We know there are behavioral, biological as well as environmental factors which all play a part in women who live longer than males, we aren’t sure how much each one contributes.

In spite of the amount, we can say that at least part of the reason why women live so much longer than men do today, but not in the past, is to do with the fact that a number of key non-biological factors have changed. These variables are evolving. Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. There are other issues that are more intricate. 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.

\u0628\u064a\u0639 \u0645\u062a\u0627\u0628\u0639\u064a\u0646 \u062a\u0648\u064a\u062a\u0631, the latest tweets from @viq_ksaEverywhere in the world women tend to live longer than men

The first chart below shows life expectancy at birth for كيفية ممارسة العلاقة الزوجية فى الاسلام; www.freakyexhibits.net, men and women. We can see that all countries are above the diagonal parity line – it means that in all nations the newborn girl is likely to live longer than a new boy.1

The chart above shows that, while the advantage for women exists across all countries, the global differences are significant. In Russia women live 10 years more than males. In Bhutan, the difference is just half a year.



The advantage for women in life expectancy was smaller in developed countries than it is today.

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

The first is that 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 increase in the gap between men and women: female advantage in life expectancy used to be extremely small but it increased substantially in the past century.

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

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