Are married people healthier than single people?
Yes, but the gap has been narrowing:
The health of people who never marry is improving, narrowing the gap with their wedded counterparts, according to new research that suggests the practice of encouraging marriage to promote health may be misguided.
Hui Liu, assistant professor of sociology at Michigan State University and lead researcher on the project, said sociologists since the 1970s have emphasized that marriage benefits health more so for men than for women.
“Married people are still healthier than unmarried people,” Liu said, “but the gap between the married and never-married is closing, especially for men.”
The researchers analyzed National Health Interview Survey data from that period and found that while the self-reported health of married people is still better than that of the never-married, the gap has closed considerably.
So what’s been changing?
The trend is due almost exclusively to a marked improvement in the self-reported health of never-married men. Liu said that may be partly because never-married men have greater access to social resources and support that historically were found in a spouse.