Special Collection 2 - Article 12 | Pages 305–330

Increasing excess mortality among non-married elderly people in developed countries

By Tapani Valkonen, Pekka Martikainen, Jenni Blomgren

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Date received:17 Feb 2003
Date published:16 Apr 2004
Word count:3914
Keywords:developed countries, inequalities, marital status, mortality, mortality differences, old age, trends


This article analyses changes in marital status differences in mortality from approximately 1970 to 1995 among men and women aged 65-74 in ten developed countries (Belgium, Canada, Denmark, England and Wales, Finland, France, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden). Data were obtained from the United Nations Demographic Yearbooks and national statistical sources.
According to the results there has been a trend towards increasing excess mortality among single men compared to married men and single, divorced and widowed women compared to married women in most western European countries and Canada in the 1980s and 1990s. This has been brought about by a more rapid decline in mortality among married persons and a slower decline or even an increase among non-married persons. In Japan the excess mortality of non-married men and women decreased.

Author's Affiliation

Tapani Valkonen - Helsingin Yliopisto (University of Helsinki), Finland [Email]
Pekka Martikainen - Helsingin Yliopisto (University of Helsinki), Finland [Email]
Jenni Blomgren - Terveyden ja hyvinvoinnin laitos (National Institute for Health and Welfare), Finland [Email]

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