The Longevity of Nuns and Monks: A Gender Gap Issue Investigated with New Belgian Data

Michel Poulain, Université Catholique de Louvain and Tallinn University

Mortality risks are dependent on living arrangement but this dependence differs by gender so that the longevity gender gap also varies by living arrangement. Within collective households, nuns and monks living in monasteries and convents represent a specific group. Based on the information on addresses and type of collective household collected at 2001 census for Belgium, we identified nuns and monks retrospectively up to 1991 and observed the survival of more than 13,000 individuals during 15 years up to 1st January 2006. The survival curves by age groups and gender show a significant advantage for nuns and monks compared to the total population as identified by SNOWDON (1996) in his Nun Study. Moreover the longevity gender gap is less important as found by LUY (2011) for German nuns and monks. In this contribution we investigate whether this reduced gender gap could be explained by gender differences in education and health.

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Presented in Session 116: Experimental Studies of Human Mortality