Item from the Smart Marriages Archive, reproduced in the Divorce Statistics Collection

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Thursday 24 December 1998

Get a wife ... for a longer life

BRENDAN NICHOLSON

If you're a single Australian male aged 27 to 37 and you want to live out your allotted 75.6 years, find a wife, fast. The Bureau of Statistics
has produced startling research on the rate at which Australians are dying and it confirms that marriage is good for longevity.

The statistics reveal that while most Australians are living longer, the death rate of men aged 27-37 has increased during the past 15 years.

That goes against the trend for most age groups. The bureau says it reflects the increasing ratio of men in that group who aren't married.

Both married men and women have lower death rates than those who never married or who are divorced or widowed, although males seem
to get most out of marriage in terms of sheer survival.

Men aged 20 to 69 who do not marry have death rates two to four times higher than their married counterparts. And men aged 15 to 34 are
three times more likely to die than women of the same age. More are steering clear of marriage but they are more inclined to engage in risky
behavior.

The bureau points out that reasons for lower mortality in marriage have been debated since the 1850s. One argument is that married people
are healthier and less likely to live dangerously. Another is that healthier individuals who don't take so many risks are more likely to find
partners.

Males seem more vulnerable from birth. The infant mortality rate for boys is 5.8 deaths per 1000 live births and for girls, 4.9 deaths.

And women are still living longer than men. An Australian girl born between 1995 and 1997 can expect to live for 81.3 years, a boy for
75.6. Most (57 per cent) of the men who died in 1997 were married and most of the women (again 57 per cent) were widowed.

The ABS also reveals that soon after 2030 more Australians will be dying than being born and we will rely on immigration to increase the
population.


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