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 much longer than men today and why does this benefit increase over time? There is only limited evidence and the evidence is not sufficient to draw an absolute conclusion. Although we know that there are behavioral, biological and environmental factors which all play a part in women who live longer than men, we do not know how much each factor contributes.

We are aware that women live longer than men, regardless of weight. But, this is not due to the fact that certain 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 others 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.

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 all countries are over the line of parity diagonally. This implies that a baby girl in every country can expect to live longer than her older brother.

The chart above shows that although the female advantage exists in all countries, cross-country differences are large. In Russia women have an average of 10 years more than men; in Bhutan the difference is just half an hour.



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

Let’s now look at how the female advantage in terms of longevity has changed over time. The next chart shows male and female life expectancy at birth in the US during the time period between 1790 and 2014. Two areas stand out.

The first is that there is an upward trend. Both genders in America have longer lives than they were a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

The gap is widening: While the advantage of women in life expectancy was once quite small but it has risen significantly over time.

It is possible to verify that the points you’ve listed are applicable to other countries that have information by clicking on the “Change country” option on the chart. This includes the UK, Www.damazacchetti.it/?option=com_k2&view=itemlist&task=user&id=1148430 France, and Sweden.

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