HomeUncategorizedWhy do women have longer lives than men?

Why do women have longer lives 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 makes women live longer than men and why have these advantages gotten bigger over time? The evidence is limited and we’re left with only partial solutions. We are aware that behavioral, biological and environmental factors play a role in the fact that women have longer lives than men, but we don’t know exactly how strong the relative contribution of each factor is.

In spite of the weight, we know that at least a portion of the reason women live so much longer than men however not as in the past, has to be due to the fact that a number of significant non-biological elements have changed. What are these new factors? Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. Other 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, Rollshutterusa.com/?option=com_k2&view=itemlist&task=user&id=2569533 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, all countries are above the diagonal parity line ; which means that in every country that a baby girl can be expected to live longer than a newborn boy.1

It is interesting to note that the advantage of women exists in all countries, cross-country differences are large. In Russia women have an average of 10 years more than men, while in Bhutan the difference is just half an hour.

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In countries with high incomes, the women’s advantage in longevity used to be smaller

We will now examine how the advantage of women in terms of longevity has changed over time. The following chart shows the gender-based and female-specific life expectancy at the birth in the US during the period 1790-2014. Two things stand out.

The first is that there is an upward trend. Both men as well as women in the US live a lot, much longer today than 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 quite small, it has increased substantially over time.

If you select the option “Change country’ on the chart, you are able to verify that these two points are also applicable to other countries with available information: Sweden, France and the UK.

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