Cohabitation and Mortality across the life course
preprintposted on 09.08.2021, 14:52 authored by Jesper Lindmarker
The literature on marriage status and mortality have shown that the married individuals enjoy longer lives than their non-married counterparts. The few studies that included cohabitation have found cohabitants to have a longevity between the married and other non-married groups. There are indications that the cohabiting population is diverse in terms of mortality risk, however, very little is known about how the association is related to age and stages of the life course. This is the first study on mortality and cohabitation for the Swedish population, which is a highly relevant context since Sweden is one of the countries where cohabitation is the most widespread and it has been a forerunner in many family trends. Using Swedish register data this study investigates how different partnership statuses are related to mortality across stages of the life course. It uses cox proportional hazards regression for the years 2012 – 2018 for the adult Swedish born population. Cohabiters were found to have consistently lower mortality risk than all other partnership statuses but the married except premarital cohabiters aged 30-49 who showed no excess mortality compared to the married. Further, the study reproduced findings that the difference between the cohabiters and the married is larger for women compared to men. These results contribute to our understanding of who cohabits at different stages of life, and it underlines that future research must consider cohabiters not as a homogenous group but as a status with diverse meaning that changes across the life course.