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 the advantage has grown as time passes? We only have a few clues and the evidence is not sufficient to support a definitive conclusion. Although we know that there are biological, psychological as well as environmental factors which all play a part in women living longer than males, it isn’t clear how much each one contributes.
In spite of how much amount of weight, we are aware that at a minimum, the reason women live longer than men in the present and not previously, is to be due to the fact that a number of key non-biological factors have changed. What are these factors that have changed? Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. Some are more complex. 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 every country is above the line of parity diagonally. This means that a newborn girl in all countries can expect to live longer than her older brother.
Interestingly, this chart shows that, while the advantage for women exists in all countries, difference between countries is huge. In Russia women are 10 years older than men, while in Bhutan the difference is just half a year.
In rich countries the longevity advantage for women used to be smaller
Let’s now look at how the gender advantage in life expectancy has changed over time. The chart below shows male and ابر التخسيس female life expectancy when they were born in the US between 1790 to 2014. Two specific points stand out.
There is an upward trend. Both genders living in America are living longer than they were a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.
The second is that there is a widening gap: The female advantage in life expectancy used to be very modest, but it grew substantially over the last century.
You can confirm that these points are also applicable to other countries with data by clicking on the “Change country” option in the chart. This includes the UK, France, and Sweden.