Why Do Jews Tend to Live Longer Than Members of Other Religious Groups?

In the United States, life expectancy at age 55 (average number of additional years lived beyond 55) for Jews is 27.7. This is two to seven years longer than any other large religious group in the United States. Three possible explanations for this advantage are: favorable socio-demographic composition, better health behaviors, and relatively frequent attendance at religious services.

Most of the life expectancy advantage for Jews can be explained by favorable socio-demographic composition relative to other religious groups. Jews, on average, have higher levels of education and higher levels of wealth than members of other religious groups do. They also are less likely to be current smokers than those in other religions, so health behaviors explain some of the advantage. Conversely, attendance at religious services, a well-known protector against mortality, is unusually low for Jews. Thus, the life expectancy advantage is mostly attributable to education and wealth, somewhat to health behaviors, and not at all due to attendance at religious services.

Allison Sullivan is a doctoral candidate in demography at the University of Pennsylvania.

Category: Q&A

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56 Responses

  1. Karl says:

    Yeah Jews for Jews, right TonyJ? Typical you expect other countries to take in refugees from totalitarian and dictatorship countries yet you won’t provide sanctuary for tormented and tortured people in Israel. Total hypocrites! You Jews a peace loving people? Give me a break.

  2. manley kiefer says:

    Good news
    , eventually the Karls of the world will either kill one another or die out with time.

  3. David Ablestein says:

    I have an interesting perspective on several of the aforementioned points. For one, my father was Ashkenazi and my mother was Christian. I was raised in the Church of Christ and went to Temple for family affairs principally. Regarding anti-semetic sentiment I have found it associated with Old World life perspective, prior to the 1960’s Catholicism was a common factor, and is associated with ignorance and generally no real life experience with Jews. Jews are tribal and hold close to the ‘chosen people” but are for the most part benign. Many, but not all, are not subject to emotional thinking. Unlike Christianity, the Jews place a premium on living this life and with that full living of life, also there is no discouragement from wealth. Christians are more self-suffering and enshrine piety with poverty. Finally, there are many mental illnesses people can develop and they suffer certain patterns – I have known several rabid Jew-haters who have liked me and have had a few Jewish friends. The mental derangement of anti-jewish sentiment fits predictable patterns and usually involves similar rhetoric. It is an obsession and probably has similar roots to OCD – a stylized fear of what is a relatively insignificant [in numbers] minority. In fact, because the average Jew is smarter then you, that is not the cause of why you are stupid. Trump is a millionaire, but his wealth is not the cause of my relative poverty. We do not succeed nor do we fail on account of another persons success or failure- these things are unrelated. In truth, the relative harsh circumstances of being a minority in all nations prior to the end of WWII, led to the Jewish people developing survival skills and the ability to make their way on the scraps of the majority and often hostile nationality. Jewish long lived propensity is due to both extreme stress on the population where only the strong survive and frankly – are able to function without major neurosis. The fact of discrimination is what makes the discriminated against stronger, more viable and better adaptable. Living as the ‘other’ among the many for thousands of years is a positive evolutionary push toward hardiness.

  4. David Ablestein says:

    And finally, without being threatening – if the Jews are all so horrible – why is it that the anti-Semite is not found dead in his home or of accident ? If the Jew is so hateful, how is it that the anti-Semite feels free to rant against this despised, loathsome violent malevolent race ? If the anti-Semite lives in a world controlled by his or her rants, why then is their no fear of retribution ? The obvious answer is apparent, it is all in his or her mind – as a Christian we are taught our battle is with spirits and principalities and not with other men. The anti-Semite battle is with delusion and insanity.

  5. Leticia Yep says:

    This is the funniest group of comments I have ever read. Every group of ancient people believe they either live the longest, the healthiest and the purist based on the doctrine they were raised with. Who in this group is a physician or scientist who can prove these statements to be valid? Is a homogeneous person to live longer than a mixed race person? Are thoroughbred better than a mut? Would the Old Testament have a few more entries on the menu if it were written right now?

    With the history of all the bloody persecution that the Jewish people of faith have gone through, how can we truly calculate the longevity?

    Be happy to be alive. Be happy to be a part of a community. Be open to understanding all cultures and people around the world. We, whether you believe in a God or not, are all part of the plan and created to learn from our world. Chosen or not, God loves us and lives through us.

    With that said . . . Mexicans are the better people. Lol Just kidding.

    Just love one an other!!!

  6. Leticia Yep says:

    Jews aren’t hateful . . . they just don’t like being wrong. Hence Jesusâ˜ș

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