Certain female celebrities such as Courtney Cox Arquette, Madonna and perhaps most famously of all Demi Moore have been the envy of many women due to the fact they bagged themselves much younger husbands. However, new research puts a damper on their apparent good luck.
A study published in May 2010 in the journal “Demography” looked at data collected from over 2 million Danish couples. Statistics showed that women who married partners seven to nine years younger than themselves had an increased mortality rate of 20%.
The study, carried out by the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Rostock, Germany, found that women who marry considerably older men also tend to have shorter lives. A big age gap either way from a woman’s point of view has a detrimental effect on her life expectancy.
A woman’s best choice of partner for a long life is someone of the same age or slightly older.
Men who marry younger women are a much better risk to a life insurance company
This is not the case for men since the research showed that the mortality risk of a man who marries a woman seven to nine years younger than himself is reduced on average by 11%, compared to marrying someone the same age.
“Health Selection” doesn’t work for women
Previously it was thought that it was beneficial for either partner to marry a younger spouse. This idea known as “health selection” says that those selecting younger partners are generally healthier and have the potential to live longer than others, and that by matching up with someone younger this would increase the positive psychological and social effects which help in older age.
Why don’t women benefit from their younger husbands
According to researcher Sven Drefahl, “One of the few possible explanations is that couples with younger husbands violate social norms and thus suffer from social sanctions.” It is also believed that the psychological and social benefits an older husband gets from a younger wife do not hold true the other way round – the husband is unlikely to have as many social contacts as a woman would and is less likely to match a woman in terms of the level of care he will offer his ageing wife.
The good news is that life insurance for married couples is cheaper overall
The bright side is that marriage raises life expectancy for both sexes compared with the unmarried, with women overall still outliving men by a few years. This makes them more of a positive investment for a life insurance company when it comes to taking out a life insurance policy.
photo credit: jenny downing