Richest live 13 years longer than poorest, says study

Wealthier men live 13 years longer on average than men with less means, and women eight years longer

A new study from statistics agency Insee has found that richer people have a greater life expectancy than their more disadvantaged counterparts, with men especially impacted.

The study - published by l’Institut National de la Statistique et des Etudes Economiques (Insee) on Tuesday 6 February - shows that wealthier men can expect to live 13 years longer on average than men with less means, and women eight years longer.

From 2012-2016, life expectancy for the wealthiest 5% of men - with an average income of around €5,800 per month - was 84.4 years, while for the 5% poorest - around €470 per month - it was just 71.7 years.

For women, the richest 5% lived to the age of 88.3 on average, compared to the poorest 5%, who lived to 80, on average.

The study suggests reasons behind the gaps; with one of the principal reasons thought to be because financial difficulties can limit people’s access to proper healthcare.

Research from 2014, from Santé Publique France, showed that 11% of the poorest 20% of households had avoided going to the doctor or seeking extra healthcare, due to financial limitations.

Poorer people were also found to be more exposed to situations that would put them in contact with drugs, illnesses, or accidents.

As has long been known, women live longer than men in general. Indeed, the Insee study shows that women with an income of a relatively-modest €1,300 per month, live on average longer than the richest men earning nearly five times’ as much.

The study suggests that women often take better care of their health; for example, research from the Santé Publique France Barometre Santé 2014 report shows that only 5% of women aged 18-75 drink alcohol everyday, compared to 15% of men of the same age.

The findings hold true across the country generally, although some trends emerge between regions, with residents in Occitanie and Pays de la Loire seeing a slightly lower risk of earlier death; and those in Hauts-de-France slightly more likely.

This was explained through differences in culture (such as eating habits), behaviour (such as drinking alcohol and smoking), environment (pollution) and the availability of healthcare.

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