Men still aren’t living as long as women and that holds true for humans’ primate cousins as well, a new study shows.
In the study, researchers looked at data from six populations of humans from both modern and historic times, in different countries. The investigators found that, “in spite of the enormous gains in human longevity over the past century, the male-female difference has not shrink, ” said Susan Alberts, a prof of biology at Duke University and a co-author of the new study.
The researchers did find that the the amount by which women outlived men differed across populations. For instance, the largest male-female difference in life span among the populations studied was in modern-day Russia, where the gap is approximately 10 years. Much smaller differences were found in other populations such as people living in modern-day Nigeria and India.
Additionally, the scientists found that the gap for nonhuman primates was much smaller than it was for humans.
In the study, the researchers looked at the mortality of six different human populations that represented “the full range of human experience.” The scientists drew information about three generally long-lived populations from a large international database called the Human Mortality Database, including the Swedish population from 1751 to 1759, the Swedish population from 2000 to 2009 and the Japanese population in 2012.
The researchers also looked at data regarding three populations with generally much shorter lives, including 2 modern hunter-gatherer populations, the Hadza of Tanzania and the Ache of Paraguay, as well as data from a population of liberate slaves, who migrated from the U.S. to Liberia between 1820 and 1843.
For nonhuman primates, the researchers looked at data collected from six wild populations of sifakas, muriquis, capuchins, gorillas, chimpanzees and baboons, each with a population somewhere between about 400 and 1,500.