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 main reason women have a longer life span than men? Why is this difference growing as time passes? There isn’t much evidence and we only have incomplete answers. We know that biological, behavioral and Relysys-Wiki.Com/Index.Php/User:TodWiliams540 environmental factors all contribute to the fact that women live longer than men; However, we’re not sure how much the influence of each one of these factors is.
In spite of the precise weight, we know that at least part of the reason women live so much longer than men in the present however not as in the past, has to be due to the fact that certain important non-biological aspects have changed. The factors changing are numerous. 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 above the diagonal parity line ; this means that in all countries a newborn girl can expect to live for longer than a newborn boy.1
The chart above shows that the advantage of women exists in all countries, global differences are significant. In Russia, women live for 10 years longer than males. In Bhutan the difference is less than half a calendar year.
The advantage for women in life expectancy was smaller in developed countries as compared to the present.
Let’s now look at how the advantage of women in longevity has changed with time. The next chart plots male and female life expectancy when they were born in the US from 1790 to 2014. Two specific points stand out.
There is an upward trend. Men and women 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 life expectancy was once tiny but it has risen significantly with time.
It is possible to verify that these points are also applicable to other countries with data by clicking the “Change country” option in the chart. This includes the UK, France, and Sweden.