Is being married the key to a longer life?

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Mortality – or the frequency of deaths – has been steadily declining in Norway over the last hundred years in comparison to people of the same age.

Our health has been improving and our life expectancy is increasing.

But for many decades, a large segment of society has not taken part in this positive development in health.

Those who are not married.

Unmarried adult men now have almost twice the mortality rate of married men of the same age. Unmarried adult women also have much higher mortality rates than married women.

“In 1975, the mortality rate of nonmarried men and women was about 20 per cent higher than among married couples,” says [demographic researcher Øystein] Kravdal.

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“Now the unmarried mortality rate is more than 80 percent higher!”

One possible explanation may be that the social glue in our culture has become weaker, making it more difficult to manage life alone.

Another possible explanation may be that the health care system has become more complicated. Maybe you need a supportive spouse to help you navigate your way to good health services in Norway.

The hypothesis is that unmarried, divorced and widowed people underuse health care services compared to married people.

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