Do couples with children die earlier?

Do couples with children die earlier?

Couples with children have to deal with sleep deprivation, diminished income, continual caregiving, worrying, etc. With all of these factors that add stress to daily life, I would hypothesize that parents with children live shorter lives.

However, according to multiple studies, none of the data supports my hypothesis. Professor Esben Agerbo conducted a longitudinal study based on this question in which he followed 21,276 couples who had or tried to have children. He found that women who did not have a child were four times more likely to have died in comparison to those who did have a child. His data also showed that fathers with a biological child were twice as likely to die earlier and men who adopted were half as likely to die early as men who had no children.

In addition, another study from the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health found that couples who have children- their own or adopted- live longer than couples who do not have children. Women who had children and adoptive mothers were four times less likely to die early from heart disease, cancer, and accidents in comparison to childless women. Michael Eisenberg of Stanford University also found that childless married men had a higher risk of dying from heart disease.

So why do parents with children and the added stress of supporting them live longer?

Due to third variables, such as age, spirituality, education levels, social class, income, and underlying illnesses, there is never a definite answer. Some researchers speculate that parenthood increases longevity due to health behaviors. For instance, they say that some parents try to get to bed earlier because they know that have to get up earlier to help the children. Other researchers theorize that fertility problems may share some of the same origins as other health issues.

According to the data found in the studies, although it is not a guarantee, if you have children, you have a higher chance of living longer.

4 thoughts on “Do couples with children die earlier?

  1. Jada Baity

    I was very shocked to learn that people with children live longer than people without children. I thought they would die sooner simply from all of the stress they endure when it comes to childbearing and then childrearing. But, looking into the theory deeper, I have come up with my own hypothesis as to why parents are living longer. It is simply because they want to to see their child grow up and create a life for themselves. Parents are constantly talking about how their kids are their pride and joy. So why would they want to die before they can see the things that their pride and joy are capable of? The human brain is very strong. So if an individual is determined to live longer so they can see their kids grow up, then their brain will help them with that. There are stories that talk about elderly couples dying at the same time. Don’t you think that it’s their brains forcing them to stay alive just as long as they need to so they don’t have to live without their spouse? The same could be true of parents with their kids. Of course, the brain is powerful, but not powerful enough to keep someone alive forever. So, in the parent’s case, their brains could be keeping them alive for as long as they possibly can before their age catches up with them and they die. But this powerful mentality to stay alive and watch the people you love grow up could be the reason behind why people with kids live longer than people without kids.

  2. Aubree Sylvia Rader

    Personally, I have never thought about this topic before but it is very interesting. I wish you could have added more about why couples without children died earlier and expanded on the explanation, such as better sleep schedule and healthier diet. Maybe explain the experiments a little more in depth as well. The third variables was a smart addition to your blog and you could have also included chance being a possible factor as well. I found a separate article that explains that premature death is only in couples who want children, but are unable to have them and not couples who do not want children at all, which you can read about here You may want to clarify on this point. I enjoyed reading your blog. I can tell my mom that I am not going to be the death of her after all!

  3. Alyssa Hope Cooper

    At first I was so surprised by the conclusion of the experiments. But the more I thought about it the more I realized why that could be true. One reason that I agree with those studies is that families without children may be depressed that they don’t can’t/don’t have. Therefore, they die earlier. Another reason is that parents with kids tend to eat healthier because they want their kids to grow up eating healthy. Therefore, adults without kids can eat what they want and when they want that it can lead to other health problems in the future. These obviously aren’t big reasons, but they can still play a part.

  4. Martin Anthony Lazzaro

    Wow I found the outcome and conclusion of your research to be surprising. I didi a little more digging for more plausible third variables for why non parents die earlier. In an article on, I saw a doctor suggesting that there is a behavioral difference perhaps, citing that parents die in accidents less than non parents. On the more dismal side, suicide rates were higher for non parents, dragging down the death age. I found the article interesting and you can check it out at this link.

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