Mortality differentials by marital status: an international comparison

Demography. 1990 May;27(2):233-50.


Although the greater longevity of married people as compared with unmarried persons has been demonstrated repeatedly, there have been very few studies of a comparative nature. We use log-linear rate models to analyze marital-status-specific death rates for a large number of developed countries. The results indicate that divorced persons, especially divorced men, have the highest death rates among the unmarried groups of the respective genders; the excess mortality of unmarried persons relative to the married has been generally increasing over the past two to three decades; and divorced and widowed persons in their twenties and thirties have particularly high risks of dying, relative to married persons of the same age. In addition, the analysis suggests that a selection process is operating with regard to single and divorced persons: the smaller the proportion of persons who never marry or who are divorced, the higher the resulting death rates.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Divorce
  • Europe
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Japan
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Marriage*
  • Middle Aged
  • Mortality*
  • North America
  • Risk Factors
  • Selection Bias
  • Sex Factors
  • Single Person
  • Taiwan
  • United Kingdom