Dr. Helen

Older Men Living Longer

I was looking at some marriage statistics from the The Institute for Family Studies on how more older people are married and was very glad to see this stat:

A few factors help to explain the different marriage trends experienced by younger and older adults. Americans are marrying later than ever, and more are living with a partner rather than getting married. And the share of never-married adults under age 65 has risen dramatically—from 26% in 1990 to 36% in 2016—which has directly contributed to the declining share of currently married among younger adults.

On the other hand, the higher proportion of married adults of retirement age today is largely due to a decline in the share of widowed adults, thanks mostly to the longer life of older men. Only less than a quarter of adults ages 65 and older (24%) are widowed today, compared with 35% in 1990. And among women ages 65 and older, the share of widowhood dropped from 50% in 1990 to 34% in 2016. Although the share of divorced or separated adults in this age group has more than doubled during the same period, it is still much smaller than that of widowed adults.

Related to the decline in widowhood, more older women today are married. For every 100 married men ages 65 and older, there are 80 married women of the same age. In 1960, the number was 64. This improvement in the gender ratio is even more dramatic among those ages 75 and older. The number of married women per 100 married men in this age group has increased from 48 to 68 since 1960.

I think the longer life for men these days might have to do with better screening for colon cancer and better heart care, both which affect men at high rates.

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