New research shows that getting married could lengthen your life for up to 17 years. A study published in The American Journal of Epidemiology reveals that single men have a 32% higher chance of death than married men across a lifetime. That means they could die 8 to 17 years before the average married man.
Single women fare a bit better: They have a 23% (or about 7 to 15 years) lower life expectancy compared to their married peers. This data is based on 90 studies of around 500 million people compiled over the last 60 years by researchers at the University of Louisville: No small feat.
Younger singles face greater chances of early death. The risk of death for 30 to 39-year-old singles was 128% higher than for married people of the same age.
Why does marital status have such a dramatic effect on physical longevity?
Explains David Roelfs, assistant professor of sociology at the university: “With the concurrent decline in public assistance, health benefits and the family wage in Western societies, single women are more economically and medically marginalized now than in previous years and are therefore at a higher risk for health problems and early death.”
Married couples enjoy a stronger support network, while single people, even if they have family and friends, by default have less social support, says Roelfs. Plus, those family and friends are probably pressuring them into getting married.