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 so longer than men and why does this benefit increase in the past? We only have partial evidence and the evidence is not strong enough to make an unambiguous conclusion. We know that behavioral, biological and environmental factors play a role in the fact that women live longer than men; However, we’re not sure how strong the relative contribution of each one of these factors is.
Independently of the exact number of pounds, we know that at a minimum, the reason why women live longer than men do today but not in the past, has to be due to the fact that some fundamental 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. 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. It is clear that all countries are over the diagonal line of parity. This implies that a baby girl in all countries can expect to live longer than her brothers.
This chart illustrates that, although women have an advantage in all countries, the differences across countries can be substantial. In Russia women have an average of 10 years more than men, while in Bhutan the difference is just half each year.
The female advantage in terms of life expectancy was lower in rich countries than it is now.
Let’s see 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 during the time period between 1790 and 2014. Two aspects stand اضيق وضعية للجماع out.
First, there is an upward trend. Women and men living in America are living longer than they were 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.
Second, the gap is getting wider: Although the advantage of women in life expectancy used to be tiny It has significantly increased over time.
If you select the option «Change country in the chart, you will be able to verify that these two points are applicable to other countries with available data: Sweden, France and the UK.