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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 women live longer than men? What is the reason has this advantage gotten larger in the past? The evidence is sketchy and we only have some answers. While we are aware that there are biological, psychological, and environmental factors which play a significant role in the longevity of women over men, we don’t know the extent to which each factor plays a role.

It is known that women live longer than men, regardless of weight. But this is not due to the fact that certain non-biological factors have changed. These variables are evolving. Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. Others are more complex. 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 كيفية ممارسة العلاقة الزوجية فى الاسلام (Suggested Reading) women. As we can see, all countries are above the diagonal parity line ; which means that in every country that a baby girl can be expected to live for longer than a newborn boy.1

This graph shows that while there is a female advantage across all countries, differences between countries are often significant. In Russia women have a longer life span than men, while in Bhutan the gap is less than half a year.



The female advantage in terms of life expectancy was lower in the richer countries than it is today.

Let’s now look at the way that female advantages in longevity has changed with time. The next chart shows the life expectancy of males and females at birth in the US between 1790 and 2014. Two distinct features stand out.

The first is that there is an upward trend. and women in the US live much, much longer than they did a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

And second, there is a widening gap: The female advantage in terms of life expectancy used be very modest but it increased substantially over the last century.

You can check if the points you’ve listed are applicable to other countries that have data by clicking on the “Change country” option in the chart. This includes the UK, France, and Sweden.

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