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 why women live longer than men? And why has this advantage gotten larger in the past? We only have partial evidence and the evidence isn’t sufficient to reach an informed conclusion. We know that behavioral, biological and environmental factors all contribute to the fact that women have longer lives than men, كيفية إقامة علاقة بالصور however, we do not know how much the influence of each one of these factors is.

Independently of the exact amount, we can say that a large portion of the reason why women live longer than men today, but not in the past, كيفية إقامة علاقة بالصور is to have to do with the fact that several key non-biological factors have changed. The factors changing are numerous. 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 , which means that in every country the newborn girl is likely to live longer than a newborn boy.1

Interestingly, this chart shows that the advantage of women is present everywhere, difference between countries is huge. In Russia women live for 10 years longer than males. In Bhutan, the difference is less than half a calendar year.



In rich countries the advantage of women in longevity was not as great.

Let’s now look at how the gender advantage in longevity has changed over time. The next chart plots the life expectancy of males and females when they were born in the US over the period 1790-2014. Two things stand out.

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

The gap is widening: While the female advantage in terms of life expectancy was quite small It has significantly increased in the past.

You can check if these principles are also applicable to other countries that have data by clicking on the “Change country” option on the chart. This includes the UK, France, and Sweden.