Mortality differences by partnership status in England and Wales: the effect of living arrangements or health selection?

Sebastian Franke, Hill Kulu

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    10 Citations (Scopus)
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    Abstract

    This paper investigates the relationship between partnership status and mortality in England and Wales. Using data from the Office for National Statistics Longitudinal Study (ONS LS) for the period between 2001 and 2011, we examine whether married people have lower mortality levels than unmarried individuals; whether individuals who cohabit have mortality levels similar to those of married or single persons; and how much the fact that married couples live with someone rather than alone explains their low mortality. Our analysis shows first that married individuals have lower mortality than unmarried persons. Second, men and women in pre-marital unions exhibit mortality levels similar to those of married men and women, whereas mortality levels are elevated for post-marital cohabitants. Third, controlling for household size and the presence of children reduces mortality differences between married and unmarried non-partnered individuals, but significant differences persist. The study supports both protection and selection theory. The increase in mortality differences by age group between never-married cohabitants and married couples is likely a sign of the long-term accumulation of health and wealth benefits of marriage. Similar mortality levels of cohabiting and married couples at younger ages suggest that healthier individuals are more likely to find a partner.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)87-118
    Number of pages32
    JournalEuropean Journal of Population
    Volume34
    Issue number1
    Early online date22 May 2017
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2018

    Keywords

    • England and Wales
    • Survival analysis
    • Mortality differences
    • Marital status
    • Cohabitation
    • ONS LS

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