Why Are Women Living Longer Than Men?

Why Are Women Living 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. Why do women live more than men do today and why is this difference growing over time? We have only a small amount of evidence and the evidence isn't sufficient to draw an unambiguous conclusion. We know there are biological, behavioral and environmental factors which play a significant role in women who live longer than men, we don't know how much each one contributes.

In spite of the precise amount of weight, we are aware that a large portion of the reason women live longer than men today and not previously, is to relate to the fact that several fundamental 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. Others 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 - which means that in every country baby girls can expect to live longer than a new boy.1

It is interesting to note that while the female advantage exists everywhere, the country-specific differences are huge. In Russia women live 10 years longer than men, while in Bhutan the gap is less than half one year.

The advantage women had in life expectancy was much lower in rich countries than it is today.
Let's take a look at how the female longevity advantage has changed over time. The following chart shows male and female life expectancy when they were born in the US between 1790 and 2014. Two specific points stand اوضاع الجماع out.

There is an upward trend. Both men and women in the US live much, much longer today than a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

Second, the gap is increasing: While the advantage of women in life expectancy was once tiny however, it has grown significantly over time.

When you click on the option "Change country from the chart, you can check that these two points are also applicable to other countries with available data: Sweden, France and the UK.