It is common knowledge that "married men live longer." However, I had a theory that the "premium" or the added years of life that come from being married are shrinking as a percentage of life expectancy.
In other words, that premium is vanishing and there may come the point in time that single men live longer than married men.
I tried looking up the data to see if I could actually go back and historically calculate what the premium was and if it has indeed been shrinking relative to life expectancies. I was unsuccessful (though I only tried for an hour) and instead came up with this report which more or less confirmed my hunch.
Though it doesn't speak directly of life expectancy (and if anybody knows where the data is, I'd appreciate it), the chart does show a correlation between various types of marital status and probability of good/excellent health. Those married are on the top and have consistently been on the top. What is really interesting is the trends.
First, the life expectancy of married men is increasing, but not by much. It's essentially stagnant. But HOT on its tail is the presupposed "loser" - the never married male. The never married male is about to close the (or maybe already has) in terms of health.
Second, and this one REALLY exposes the fallacy "married men live longer" is what happens to the health of people who get divorced or separated. They are trending DOWNWARD. The risk here should be very obvious. Yes, you CAN get married and you CAN enjoy better health, BUT THIS ASSUMES YOU STAY MARRIED. Ergo, the argument of "married men live longer," usually used to cajole men into marriage, speaks NOTHING of the risks of getting divorced. And since half of all marriages end in divorce AND THE MAJORITY OF THOSE DIVORCES ARE INSTIGATED BY WOMEN, you should be taking a cumulative projection of married, divorced and separated life expectancies. This cumulative projection was not calculated by the authors of this study, but just eyeballing it and knowing you have to weight divorce by at least 50% you KNOW MARRIAGE AS A WHOLE IS A BAD PROPOSITION FOR YOUR HEALTH IF YOU ARE A MALE.
Now, the scientists who conducted this study chalk the advances in single male health to better and more frequent use of health care. They of course have to be politically correct. I'd say (and it shows in the divorced/separated category) that it is the deterioration of marriage, specifically the deterioration in the quality and caliber of your average woman AND man. The question is who is deteriorating more.
That trend of never-married males is telling. I'd LOVE to see the female equivalent.
Update from Dalrock.