More and more men widowed

In 2001, almost 18 thousand men were widowed, over 8 percent more than 10 years ago. The number of widowed women fell slightly by 1 percent. Nevertheless, widows outnumber widowers two to one. Almost 41 thousand married women lost their husbands in 2001.

Number of widowed men

Men increasingly outlive their spouses

There is a relation between the number of widowers and the growing male life expectancy. Although women on average live longer than men, the gap is closing. A decade ago, women on average outlived men by 6 years, in 2001 the gap was reduced to less than five years.

Number of widowed women

Probability of being widowed increases with advancing age

The probability of being widowed rapidly increases with advancing age. In 2001, over 20% of women aged over 90 lost their husbands, 4% of women aged between 70 and 74 were widowed.

Long-lasting marriages

In 2001, the average duration of a marriage was 43 years before one of the partners died. Approximately 30% of the couples were married forty to fifty years, a similar percentage were married fifty to sixty years, a little more than 7% were married sixty years or more.

Marriages dissolved by death, by duration of marriage, 2001

Wedding anniversaries

The figures on wedding anniversaries show a similar picture. On 1 January 2001, 150 thousand couples were married over 50 years, nearly 14 thousand couples were married over 60 years, and more than 200 couples over 70 years.

Maarten Alders