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 are more likely to live longer than men? And how the advantage has grown as time passes? The evidence isn’t conclusive and we’re only able to provide limited solutions. While we are aware that there are biological, psychological as well as environmental factors which play a significant role in women living longer than males, we aren’t sure how much each factor contributes.
In spite of the precise weight, we know that at a minimum, the reason women live longer than men do today, but not previously, has to be due to the fact that certain significant non-biological elements have changed. The factors changing are numerous. 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 Cp.themegarden.ir/index.php?qa=19867&qa_1=why-do-women-live-longer-than-men men and women. We can see that every country is above the diagonal parity line – it means that in all nations baby girls can expect to live longer than a new boy.1
This chart illustrates that, even though women enjoy an advantage throughout the world, the differences between countries are often significant. In Russia, women live for 10 years longer than men. In Bhutan there is a difference of only half a year.
The advantage women had in life expectancy was much lower in developed countries than it is today.
Let’s examine how the female longevity advantage has changed in the course of time. The next chart compares male and female life expectancy when they were born in the US during the time period between 1790 and 2014. Two specific points stand out.
The first is that there is an upward trend. Both genders in the United States live longer than they were a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.
And second, there is an increase in the gap between men and women: female advantage in life expectancy used be very small but it increased substantially during the last century.
When you click on the option “Change country’ on the chart, you can check that these two points also apply to the other countries with available data: Sweden, France and the UK.