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 is the reason women live longer than men in the present and how is this difference growing over time? We only have partial evidence and the evidence isn’t sufficient to support an informed conclusion. While we are aware that there are biological, psychological, and environmental factors that play an integral role in the longevity of women over men, we do not know what percentage each factor plays in.

In spite of the precise number of pounds, زيادة متابعين تويتر we know that at least a portion of the reason why women live longer than men in the present however not as in the past, is to relate to the fact that certain important non-biological aspects have changed. What are the factors that are changing? Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. Some 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 women. As you can see, every country is above the diagonal parity line ; it means that in all nations baby girls can expect to live longer than a newborn boy.1

This graph shows that even though women enjoy an advantage in all countries, the differences across countries can be substantial. In Russia women have an average of 10 years more than men; in Bhutan the difference is less than half each year.



In wealthy countries, the female advantage in longevity was not as great.

Let’s see how the female longevity advantage has changed over time. The following chart shows the gender-based and female-specific life expectancy when they were born in the US from 1790 to 2014. Two points stand out.

There is an upward trend. Women and men living in America are living longer than they did a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

Second, the gap is getting wider: Although the female advantage in life expectancy was once very small but it has risen significantly in the past.

Using the option ‘Change country by country’ in the chart, you can determine if these two points also apply to other countries that have available information: Sweden, France and the UK.

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