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Younger spouses lead to happier partners, but in the longer term, being of a similar age predicts level of happiness in marriage

By August 28, 2017No Comments

By Gianna Huesch

An analysis of Australian data has been made by economics scholars at the University of Colorado, Boulder in the USA, with interesting findings.

The longitudinal study, published in academic publication Journal of Population Economics, crunched the data gleaned from almost 20,000 Australians in 7,682 households who were surveyed for 13 years on a number of factors including relationship satisfaction.

The researchers determined that both men and women were happier with younger spouses: “Men who are married to younger wives are the most satisfied, and men who are married to older wives are the least satisfied”.  And women are “particularly dissatisfied when they’re married to older husbands but much happier when their spouse was younger”.

However, while men and women reported being happier with their marriage when their partner was younger, this effect was found to only occur for the first six to ten years of marriage.  After this, when compared to couples of similar age to each other, the ones which had a significant age difference experienced that their “level of happiness can drop off sharply after six to ten years together”.

The data also looked into the effect of ‘economic shocks’ on couples’ reported happiness. Economic shocks are described as unexpected financial difficulties or job losses, for example.  The researchers found that “when couples have a large age difference…they tend to have a much larger decline in marital satisfaction when faced with an economic shock than couples that have a very small age difference”.

The researchers concluded that this effect may be attributed to the fact that when stressful issues arise, latent incompatibilities in couples which have large age differences may be exposed.  On the other hand, it was suggested that marrying someone closer to your own age may create couples that are more “in sync” with each other on significant life issues such as financial or parenting matters.


Do you need assistance with a family law matter?  Please contact Canberra family lawyer Cristina Huesch or one of our solicitors, Sharla Stevens or Angela Li, at Alliance Family Law on (02) 6223 2400.

Please note our blogs are not legal advice.  For information about how to obtain the correct legal advice, please contact Alliance.


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