Previous research has shown that marriage boosts the live expectancy of White Americans. But a new study, led by researchers at Michigan State University, has found that there is no statistical difference in mortality rates for Blacks who are married compared to Blacks who cohabitate, or live together outside the institution of marriage.
The researchers examined data on more than 200,000 healthy people from 1997 to 2004. The authors state that Whites tend to view cohabitation as a trial period before marriage. Thus, Whites who cohabitate may not share the same social and economic resources with their mates as they would when they marry. But many Blacks, according to the authors, see cohabitation as an alternative to marriage and may tend to share resources more like married couples than Whites who cohabitate.