Marriage and Health

The Church Times reports on an analysis of demographic statistics in the United Kingdom. The surprising news is that even as cohabitation is on the rise in Britain, couples that are married stay together longer and enjoy better health than those that are living together without being married.

“Marriage is on the decline, but married people are more likely to stay together than cohabiting couples, says an in-depth analysis, Focus on Families, from the office of National Statistics. Married people live longer, and enjoy the best health; they provide unpaid care for their sick, disabled, and elderly relatives, and their children get better results at school than those of single or cohabiting parents.

The number of married couples fell by four per cent to 12.1 million in the past decade. Now only 65 per cent of children live with married parents, as compared with 72 per cent in 1996. There are 2.3 million cohabiting-couple families and 2.6 million lone-parent families — a rise of eight per cent over the previous decade.

[…]In general, married people have the best health, followed by single people, with the formerly-married having the worst. ‘Many studies of historical marriage and mortality data have shown the association between marriage and health is enduring and pervasive,’ the authors say.

They suggest: ‘Former benefits of partnership, such as a generally better standard of living, seem less important as the single breadwinner model disappears. For a number of reasons, differences between marital status groups might be expected to decline, but the clearest evidence (given by mortality trends) suggests that these differentials are, in fact, increasing, so that the link between health and family remains strong.’”

Read the rest here.

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