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 is the reason women have a longer life span than men? Why does this benefit increase over time? There is only limited evidence and the evidence isn’t sufficient to draw a definitive conclusion. We know that behavioral, biological and environmental factors contribute to the fact that women have longer life spans than men, however, we aren’t sure how significant the impact of each factor is.
We have learned that women are living longer than men, regardless of their weight. However this isn’t due to the fact that certain biological factors have changed. What are these new factors? 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. It is clear that all countries are above the diagonal line of parity. This implies that a baby girl in all countries can expect to live longer than her older brother.
The chart below shows that even though women enjoy an advantage everywhere, cross-country differences could be significant. In Russia women live 10 years longer than men, while in Bhutan the gap is less than half each year.
In wealthy countries, the female advantage in longevity was not as great.
Let’s now look at the way that female advantages in terms of longevity has changed over time. The next chart shows male and female life expectancy at birth in the US during the time period between 1790 and 2014. Two distinct points stand out.
First, there is an upward trend. Men 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.
Second, Www.zilahy.info/wiki/index.php/User:KazukoRosenhain there’s an increase in the gap between men and women: female advantage in life expectancy used be quite small however it increased dramatically over the last century.
By selecting ‘Change Country in the chart, you can verify that these two points are applicable to the other countries having available information: Sweden, France and the UK.