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Blog entry by Harriet Borges

Why do women live longer than men?

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 women live longer than men? Why the advantage has grown in the past? We have only a small amount of evidence and the evidence is not sufficient to draw a definitive conclusion. Although we know that there are biological, psychological and environmental factors which all play a part in the longevity of women over males, it isn't clear the extent to which each factor plays a role.

In spite of the number of pounds, we know that a large portion of the reason why women live longer than men however not as previously, is to relate to the fact that a number of important non-biological aspects have changed. What are the factors that are changing? Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. There are other issues that are more intricate. 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 line of parity diagonally. This implies that a baby girl from every country could be expected to live for longer than her brother.

It is interesting to note that the advantage of women exists across all countries, the global differences are significant. In Russia women have an average of 10 years more than males; while in Bhutan the difference is just half each year.

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In rich countries the women's advantage in longevity used to be smaller

Let's examine how the gender advantage in longevity has changed with time. The following chart shows the male and female life expectancies at birth in the US during the period 1790 to 2014. Two areas stand out.

First, there is an upward trend. as well as women in the US have a much longer life span longer than they did a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

There is a widening gap: ابر التخسيس The female advantage in terms of life expectancy used be very modest however, it has increased significantly over the last century.

It is possible to verify that these are applicable to other countries that have information by clicking on the "Change country" option on the chart. This includes the UK, France, and Sweden.

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