Women survive famine and diseases than men
The research led by Virginia Zarulli, an assistant professor at the University of Southern Denmark, and James Vaupel, a research professor at Duke University, analysed mortality data stretching back 250 years for those whose lives were cut short by famine or diseases. The data spanned seven populations in which the life expectancy for one or both sexes was 20 years or less.
Many of these populations were working and former slaves in Trinidad and the United States in the early 1800s, famine victims in Sweden, Ireland and Ukraine in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. The others were Icelanders affected by the 1846 and 1882 measles epidemics.
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The research found that for example, women lived more on slave plantations in Trinidad, during famines in Sweden as well as measles outbreaks in Ireland.
Women also lived more than men in West Africa in the 1800s.
For instance, more than 40 percent freed American slaves who relocated to Liberia in the 1800s died and this was mainly due to tropical diseases they could not possibly resist. Babies born during that time hardly made it beyond their second birthday. And even with this situation in the West African country, the researchers found that even though mortality was very high for both sexes, women still lived longer than men by six months to almost four years. Life expectancy was a low 1.68 years for boys, but 2.23 years for girls.
In 1933, girls that were born during the famine that hit Ukraine, for example, lived to 10.85, and boys to 7.3; a 50 percent difference.