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The Greater a Wife’s Age Gap from Husband, the Lower Her Life Expectancy

A new study by Sven Drefahl from the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock, Germany has revealed that the greater the age difference a wife has from the husband, the lower the wife's life expectancy. This is counter to other recent studies that have shown that men with younger wives live longer. In this study, it didn't matter if the wife was older or younger, it was the age difference that mattered most. "It appears that the reasons for mortality differences due to the age gap of the spouses remain unclear," says Drefahl. According to the study, women marrying a partner seven to nine years younger increase their mortality risk by 20 percent. For men, results of previous studies shows a different result. The mortality risk of a husband who is seven to nine years older than his wife is reduced by eleven percent compared to couples where both partners are the same age. In the United States, on average a groom is 2.3 years older than his bride. Drefahl's data showed that for women, an older husband shortens her life, and a younger one even more so when compared to women who married men the same age. Overall, however, studies have shown that happy marriages increase the life expectancy for both men and women.

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