A new study published in the journal PNAS now suggests that humans that are generous or those who share more live longer.
In their analysis, Fanny Kluge and Tobias Vogt found a strong linear relationship between a society's generosity and the average life expectancy of its members. The researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Rostock, Germany, concluded that people are living longer in societies whose members support each other with resources.
"What is new about our study is that for the first time we have combined transfer payments from state and family and evaluated the effect", said Fanny Kluge.
The researchers used data for 34 countries from the National Transfer Accounts project. For all countries, state and private transfer payments received and given by each individual over his or her lifetime are added up and presented in relation to lifetime income.
Sub-Saharan African countries such as Senegal share the lowest percentage of their lifetime income and have the highest mortality rate of all the countries studied. Those who share little die earlier. Although South Africa is economically more developed than other African countries, few resources are redistributed; here too, the mortality rate is relatively high. In these countries, the mortality rate of children and young people up to the age of 20 is also higher than in the other countries studied.