If you’re enjoying a life of wedded bliss, congratulations on beating some impressive odds.
In the US, people are getting hitched less often than they once did, and young Americans are putting off marriage more than ever before.
In 1962, half of 21-year-olds and 90% of 30-year-olds had been married at least once. In 2014, only 8% of 21-year-olds and 55% of 30-year-olds had been married.
According to Bloomberg, married Americans are now the minority.
Relationship experts believe that American marriages are more challenging today than ever before because we expect so much more out of marriage, and when higher expectations aren’t met, it can suffocate a marriage to the point of destroying it.
As a result, we tend to see more extreme manifestations of struggling and healthy marriages.
While we know that marriages come in all shapes and sizes — some are short-lived, while others are enduring; some are really happy, and some aren’t — how does marriage ultimately impact the many facets of your success?
Well, there’s no simple answer. But these studies will begin to unpack the question a little and help us better understand the many factors at play.
A recent study on marital satisfaction released by the National Bureau of Economic Research and previously reported on by Business Insider suggests that the happiest people are those who are married to their best friends.
Controlling for pre-marital happiness, the study concluded that, overall, marriage leads to increased well-being.
But while couples who saw their best friend as someone outside of the relationship were happier than single people, the study found that those who consider their spouse or partner to be their best friend get about twice as much life satisfaction from marriage as other married people.
The authors concluded that partners can provide each other with a unique kind of social support and help each other overcome some of life's biggest challenges, and people with the most difficult lives -- for example, middle-aged people, who often experience a dip in personal well-being -- can benefit the most.
Your network of relationships, among other things, can help you find jobs and make you happier happier, healthier, and more open to insights.
Unfortunately for married people, research suggests that, compared to Americans who have always been single, they are less likely to support and stay in touch with their family and less likely to help, encourage, and socialise with friends and neighbours.
According to two Atlantic writers who crunched some numbers, married women can pay as much as $1 million less than their single counterparts over a lifetime.
The writers looked at the tax penalties and bonuses, as well as living costs like health spending and housing costs.
According to the Tax Policy Center, a married couple suffers a 'marriage penalty' if they pay more income tax as a married couple than they would have as two single individuals. A couple receives a 'marriage bonus' if they pay less income tax as a married couple than they would have as two single individuals.
When couples combine their incomes, especially when they have similar incomes, this can push them into a higher tax bracket, which would result in a higher tax rate.
In addition to the tax break you receive from filing jointly, couples are more likely to receive a marriage bonus when spouses earn different amounts.
There are a lot of factors affecting marriage penalties and bonuses, but generally, according to the US Department of the Treasury Office of Tax Analysis, more married couples under the age of 65 filing joint tax returns on average see bonuses than penalties.
According to the BLS data the Atlantic writers looked at, couples also spent on average 6.9% of their annual income on their health, while single men spent only 3.9% and single women spent 7.9%.
And when it came to housing, couples spent on average 23.9% of their annual income, compared to single men who spent 30.3% and single women who spend 39.8%.
By combining resources and splitting costs, married people have the edge on all kinds of day-to-day expenses in addition to rent or mortgage: one cable bill, one utilities bill, and shared groceries can all lead to big savings.
A recent study conducted by W. Bradford Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, and Robert Lerman, an economics professor at American University, suggests that men see bigger salaries when they're married compared to their single counterparts, while women see the reverse.
According to the study results, married men between 28 and 30 years old earn around $15,900 more per year in individual income compared to their single counterparts, while married men between 44 and 46 years old make $18,800 more than single men of the same ages.
While the study authors did not consider these findings statistically significant, married women between 28 and 30 years old, on the other hand, earn $1,349 less per year in individual income compared to their single counterparts, while married women between 44 and 46 years old make $1,465 more than single women of the same ages.
The study authors noted that income typically depends, in part, on the time men and women devote to the labour force.
They found that married men between 28 and 30 work 441 more hours outside the home per year than do their single peers, while men between 44 and 46 work 403 more hours if they are married.
Young married women work 196 hours less than do their single peers, though this number becomes negligible when there are no children involved. And middle-aged married women work 131 hours less than their single counterparts, unless they are childless.
Various studies point to the effect marriage can have on your health.
Researchers from the University of Maryland found that men and women between the ages of 18 and 64 who had never been married tended to exercise more each week than those who were either married or divorced.
Research would seem to bear out the stereotype that once people get married, they let themselves go. One study, for example, found that married men were 25% more likely to be overweight or obese compared to single men.
But other research suggests that married people tend to reap other health benefits.
Recent research out of New York University's Lagone Medical Center found that married people had a 5% lower chance of cardiovascular disease compared to single people.
'It might be that if someone is married, they have a spouse who encourages them to take better care of themselves,' says Dr. Jeffrey Berger, a preventive cardiologist at NYU, according to the AP.
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