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Policy Brief

Social Inequalities in Mortality

The increasing advantage of the married

Key Messages

  • Married individuals live longer than the non-married, and in Norway and some other countries, this mortality gap has become larger over recent decades.
  • Among the never-married in Norway, mortality did not fall over the last decades of the 20th century, and in 2005-08, mortality was as high for them as it was for the married three decades earlier.
  • The increasing mortality disadvantage of the non-married is particularly alarming in light of the large size of this population group. The group will probably become even larger over the next decades, although this is likely accompanied by an increasing proportion of cohabitants among the non-married, which may diminish their excess mortality compared to the married.
  • Should attempts be made to improve the health situation for the non-married in particular, better knowledge about the reasons for their disadvantage would be very helpful.