Gender differences in life expectancy among Kibbutz members

Uri Leviatan*, Jiska Cohen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A literature review of findings reveals that the life expectancy (LE) of females is longer than that of males and that a strong relationship exists between LE and gender differnces in LE. The arguments of biological vs societal reasons for such gender differences are presented and the kibbutz society is offered as a setting to test the rivaling hypotheses. It is argued that the kibbutz society offers more similar roles for both genders than outside the kibbutz and therefore the gender differences in LE should be reduced in comparison to what is expected, given the very high LE of kibbutz members. Statistical data of the kibbutz population between the years 1975-1980 are analyzed and the results support the following conclusions: female members have higher LE but the difference is much less than expected on the basis of a regression analysis of data from 73 societies; the difference is smaller due to the relatively higher gain in LE by males; the gender differences are even smaller at age 50 compared to LE differences at birth. The Discussion section dwells upon interpretations of the findings and argues against alternative interpretations that assume selection processes for the kibbutz population. Suggestions for further studies are also made.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)545-551
Number of pages7
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1985


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