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’s the reason why women are more likely to live longer than men? Why the advantage has grown over time? We have only a small amount of evidence and the evidence is not strong enough to make an absolute conclusion. We know there are biological, behavioral and environmental variables that all play a role in women living longer than men, we do not know how much each one contributes.

We are aware that women are living longer than men, regardless of weight. But this isn’t because of certain biological or Minecrafting.co.uk/wiki/index.php/User:SyreetaSemmens6 (angusvail.com) non-biological factors have changed. What are these new factors? Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. Certain are more complicated. 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 means that a newborn girl in all countries can expect to live longer than her older brother.

This chart is interesting in that it shows that the advantage of women exists across all countries, the country-specific differences are huge. In Russia women have a longer life span than men; in Bhutan the gap is just half each year.



In the richer countries, the women’s advantage in longevity was previously smaller.

Let’s take a look at how the female longevity advantage has changed in the course of time. The following chart shows the male and female life expectancy when they were born in the US from 1790 to 2014. Two aspects stand out.

The first is that there is an upward trend. Women and men living in America are living longer than they were 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

There is a widening gap: The female advantage in terms of life expectancy used be very modest however it increased dramatically over the course of the last century.

When you click on the option “Change country by country’ in the chart, you will be able to check that these two points are applicable to other countries that have available information: Sweden, France and the UK.

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