Generosity Fosters Increased Longevity
A new study published in the journal PNAS suggests that people that share more live longer because the act of giving and receiving increases well-being. The recipient benefits directly from the gift, while the giver benefits indirectly through emotional satisfaction. Co-authors Fanny Kluge and Tobias Vogt found a strong relationship between a society’s generosity and the average life expectancy of its members. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, in Rostock, Germany, conclude that people are living longer in societies where members support each other with resources.
Residents of African countries such as Senegal and South Africa share the lowest percentage of their lifetime income and have the highest mortality rate of the countries studied. Western European countries and Japan transfer more to the youngest and oldest, and their mortality rates are lower. Kluge notes that the relationship between generosity and lifetime income doesn’t depend on whether the benefits come from the state or from the wider community.