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 live longer than men? And how does this benefit increase as time passes? There isn’t much evidence and we’re left with only partial answers. We are aware that behavioral, biological and environmental factors play a role in the fact that women have longer lives than men, however, we do not know how strong the relative contribution of each of these factors is.
Independently of the exact weight, we know that a large portion of the reason women live longer than men in the present and not previously, has to do with the fact that certain significant non-biological elements have changed. These variables are evolving. Some are well known and Wiki.primat.ch/index.php/Why_Are_Women_Living_Longer_Than_Men relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. Other 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. As we can see, all countries are above the diagonal parity line ; it means that in all nations that a baby girl can be expected to live for longer than a new boy.1
The chart above shows that although the female advantage exists everywhere, the global differences are significant. In Russia women have a longer life span than men, while in Bhutan the gap is just half one year.
The female advantage in life expectancy was smaller in rich countries as compared to the present.
Let’s examine the way that female advantages in longevity has changed over time. The chart below shows male and female life expectancies when they were born in the US from 1790-2014. Two distinct points stand out.
There is an upward trend. Both men and women in the US are living much, much longer today than a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.
The gap is increasing: While the female advantage in life expectancy used to be quite small but it has risen significantly over time.
You can verify that the points you’ve listed are applicable to other countries with data by clicking the “Change country” option on the chart. This includes the UK, France, and Sweden.