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Marriage and Longevity Link (Marriage Research Report 1)

By April 10, 2013Blog
marriage and longevity

In the modern day with so many cohabiting couples, it can be easy for people to become sidetracked from the benefits of married life.

With so much media emphasis on why marriage is no longer necessary or even beneficial, it’s easy to see why people have become not only afraid of marriage, but have begun to view marriage as a bad lifestyle choice.  Those who are happily married will tell you nothing comes close to the benefits of being happily married.

I actually find myself coming across more and more people lately who just seem so fed up and desperate about their post divorce situation and it saddens me that so many people are hurting in this way, worried that time is ticking by, anxious that they are not going to find someone to spend the rest of their life with.  Behind a lot of the self-assured proclamations of some singletons, cohabitees and divorcees, deep down a lot of them want to be married.  Often, they just haven’t found the right person yet or they have misunderstood what being married means.

For the first of my Marriage Research Reports, let’s look at the link between marriage and longevity.

Between 1997 and 2004 a longitudinal study published by Liuand Reczek (2012), was conducted using 193,851 participants with a representative cross section of the public, i.e. using a whole range of demographics from the population instead of just, for example, middle class, white men and women.

The researchers found that US adult mortality rates were lower for married white men and women than their cohabiting counterparts, i.e. that married white men and women lived longer than those who were cohabiting.  They also found that never-married, divorced or widowed black men had shorter life spans than their co-habiting counterparts.  They did not find a difference between mortality rates for black men and women who were married vs. cohabiting.

The researchers attributed some of the differences between the groups within the study to factors such as physical and psychological health differences, health behaviour differences and income differences between the groups.

In another study published earlier, Kaplan and Kronick (2006), again looking at a sample from the US, analysed over eight years, researchers found that married individuals lived longer than all groups in the study.  They also found that the chance of death was 58% higher in never-married individuals compared with those married.



Liu, H. & Reczek, C. (2012). Cohabitation and U.S. Adult Mortality: An Examination by Gender and Race. Journal of Marriage and Family, 74 (4), 794–811.

Kaplan, R. M. and Kronick, R. G. (2006). Marital Status and Longevity in the U.S. Population. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 60 (9), 760-765.

Join the discussion 4 Comments

  • Kathy Joyce says:

    Cohabiting is fine and many couples live happily together for years in a healthy and loving relationship, however I think marriage gives security and it’s showing true commitment to a each other. I certainly don’t see marriage as a bad lifestyle choice, but as far as longevity goes I wouldn’t have seen it as being any more beneficial than just cohabiting. I did however find your article very interesting.

    • Sam says:

      Thanks for reading, Joyce. Glad you liked the article. Marriage definitely brings lots of perks, when you marry the right person, with the right mindset and marry for the right reasons.

  • Sharyn Celuch says:

    It is not easy to keep the relationships alive; it needs a lot of effort. You may require a lot of patience and you need to convince yourself that I need to save my marriage for the sake of all the good times and for the children. There are always some hope and ways to resolve the problems your marriage. The conflicts in married life may be because of ego or some misunderstandings.*^..*

    • Sam says:

      Yes, all relationships definitely require ongoing effort to make them successful and to keep us and our loved ones growing together rather than apart.