Women survive severe famines and epidemics better than men

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Abstract

Women live longer than men almost everywhere. Research provides evidence for both biological and behavioral factors modulating this gender gap, leaving open the question of what are its fundamental determinants. An unexplored source of information is when men and women experience extremely high mortality risk. Finding that women have longer life expectancy under harsh conditions would support the hypothesis that the female survival advantage is biologically determined. We investigate the survival in 8 populations under high mortality from famines, epidemics and slavery. We find that women survived better than men. In all populations they had lower mortality and, with the exception of one slave population, they lived longer. Infant ages contributed the most to the gender gap in life expectancy, indicating that newborn girls were able to survive extreme mortality better than newborn boys. Our results lend support to the hypothesis that the gender survival gap has deep biological roots.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date29. Oct 2017
Publication statusPublished - 29. Oct 2017
Event28th International Population Conference of the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population - Cape Town International Conference Centre (CTICC), Cape Town, South Africa
Duration: 29. Sep 20174. Nov 2017
Conference number: 28
http://ipc2017capetown.iussp.org/

Conference

Conference28th International Population Conference of the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population
Number28
LocationCape Town International Conference Centre (CTICC)
CountrySouth Africa
CityCape Town
Period29/09/201704/11/2017
Internet address

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