Married people live longer, and healthier.
New data from the National Center for Health Statistics, taken from 2010 – 2017, show that the death rate for married people over age 25 declined by 7%. The rate for never-married people dropped by 3%.
Married people died at an age-adjusted rate of 780 per 100,000. The rate for divorced people was 1,369 per 100,000. For those never-married the rate was 1,444, and 1,657 for those who were widowed.
Reasons given were that healthier people tend to marry in the first place and, when married, people eat better, take fewer risks, and are more likely to keep regular medical appointments.
There’s also good news about married people and money.
More insurance options, at lower rates, are available for people who are married. Married people’s credit scores tend to be higher, and credit costs lower, than people who are single.
Social security also provides very real advantages for married couples that are not available for people who are not married, such as the ability to continue payments to a lower income spouse at the higher income spouse’s rate.
So why are fewer people tying the knot?
It may be a matter of education, race and economics.
65% of those with a college degree are married, compared with only 50% of those with a high school diploma and no college. Twenty-five years ago both groups were over 60%
In 1960, 72% of all adults over age 18 were married.
54% of whites over the age of 18 are married today, which is lower than Asians (61%). 46% of Hispanics and 30% of African Americans over age 18 are presently married.
Is marriage just out of style?
Among adults who have never been married, 58% say they would like to get married someday. 41% say the reason for not marrying now is the feeling that they are not financially stable.
Here economics factor in big. 21% of those with incomes over $75,000 say they are not ready for marriage, whereas 47% of those with incomes under $30,000 say the same.
For those of us with mental illness the idea and practice of marriage can be difficult. I am on my third. Episodes of mania and depression led me to really mess up the first two, but now that I am stable and manage bipolar disorder well, my present marriage is supportive and joyful.
We are planning for a positive future and have a wonderful daughter. We’ve learned how to work together, and we share goals and aspirations. Still, we’re secure enough to allow each other to be individuals with full lives.
I think marriage has real benefits, both for the spouses and their children. It can be good for your longevity, and your mental health. I also know what it’s like to fail in marriage, or to just not bother at all.
The most important factors are to be ready to commit and, of course, to find the right person. For all its pluses, I recommend tying the knot only when it seems right. If married people do live longer and more financially secure, as the data says they do, you’ll get to enjoy each other for many years.
So marriage can be good for you. Both of you.