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Why women are more likely to 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 more than men do today and why have these advantages gotten bigger over time? The evidence is limited and we only have limited answers. Although we know that there are biological, behavioral and environmental factors which all play a part in women who live longer than men, we don’t know the extent to which each factor plays a role.

We know that women live longer than men, regardless of their weight. However it is not because of certain biological or non-biological factors have changed. What are these changing factors? 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.

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, all countries are above the diagonal parity line , which means that in every country a newborn girl can expect to live for longer than a newborn boy.1

This chart is interesting in that it shows that while the female advantage is present everywhere, global differences are significant. In Russia, women live for 10 years longer than males. In Bhutan, the difference is less that half a year.



The advantage of women in life expectancy was much lower in countries with higher incomes than it is now.

Let’s look at how the gender advantage in longevity has changed with time. The next chart shows male and female life expectancy at birth in the US over the period 1790-2014. Two distinct features stand out.

There is an upward trend. Men as well as women in the US live much, اضيق وضعية للجماع (article source) much longer than they did 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

Second, the gap is widening: While the female advantage in life expectancy was extremely small It has significantly increased in the past.

If you select the option “Change country’ on the chart, verify that these two points are applicable to other countries that have available data: Sweden, France and the UK.