Older men are far more likely to be married than older women, a fact made true not only because women tend to outlive men and marry men older than they are, but also because men are much more likely to remarry than women.
According to the Older Americans 2016 report, women over 75 are twice as likely to live alone compared with men of the same age. Nearly three-quarters of women over 85 are widowed, according to U.S. census data from 2015, compared with only 34 per cent of men.
And while women who are financially comfortable can go it alone and thrive with the support of close knit friends and family, single older women often are hit hardest by divorce or the death of a partner and with poverty comes poorer health.
But what the statistics may not tell us is the changing attitudes women hold about themselves. More older women find that they are not interested in signing up for marriage only to fall back into the role of caregiver after often having spent the better part of a lifetime caring for children, husbands, elderly parents and grandchildren. And while some women are happy to date, many vibrant women over 65 are fulfilled by their interests, their friendships and their families. Men on the other hand are less likely to have established the strong relationships that will carry them through old age and tend to care for their own health poorly.
The recent report, Key Indicators of Well-Being, was published with the collaboration of a number of federal agencies in order to fully understand the growing senior population and to better meet the challenges of aging Americans. The trends established by the report for 2016 are likely to evolve with the increase in the number of “gray divorces” and changes in perception about remarriage and blended families among the baby boomer generation.
To read the full report follow this link.