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Demographers Predict

Demographers predict that 10% of young men and women today will never marry, and that half of those who do will divorce. Some 37% of adults over 18 are single, and roughly one-fourth of all households consist of just one person. Moreover, one child in four is born out of wedlock, and one-fourth of all children now live with a single parent. Are these changes in American living patterns affecting the nation’s health? Health experts have long observed that married people are healthier than unmarried people, and that death rates (from all causes) are consistently higher among single and socially isolated people. More recent studies have suggested that mortality rates are about 100% to 300% higher for socially isolated men, and 50% to 150% higher for socially isolated women, than for their socially integrated counterparts.

Resource, Mar./Apr., 1990