Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Is the Average Age of Widowhood 55?
Old 04-08-2007, 06:41 AM   #1
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 51
Is the Average Age of Widowhood 55?

In the Parade Magazine newspaper insert for today, April 7 (yes someone does read that thing) there is an article that says the "average age of widowhood in this country is 55". I googled the phrase and found references to the Census as the source of the statistic. I searched the board and could not find a previous thread (although I suspect there is one). I am 56 and DW is 55. I do not feel like checking out just yet.

This board is great at debunking statistics.

What is the story here?

ZMAN
__________________

__________________
ZMAN is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Re: Is the Average Age of Widowhood 55?
Old 04-08-2007, 07:18 AM   #2
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 8,733
Re: Is the Average Age of Widowhood 55?


The data is supposed to be at the Adminstration on Aging's site, but I couldn't get some of the PDF files to download. http://www.aoa.gov/prof/Statistics/statistics.asp

Still, I found a few other web sites that quoted figures of "average age of widowhood" at 55 to 58 years old.

I think the reason this is so early is that:
1) Men die more frequently than women of accidents/homicides/combat injuries, etc at early ages.
2) If a couple lives long enough, they are out of the window where homicides and vehicle accidents are big factors. After that point, it is increasingly likely that the man will outlive the woman (though it is still more likely she'll outlive him)--if that happens, she doesn't become a widow and those statistics don't get entered into the average for widowhood.
3) Finally, I'd guess that the male is likey to be older than the female in most couples, which just exacerbates the already existing difference life expectancy (since we're talking "average age" rather than "median age" of widowhood, cases where a rich guy gets "trophy wife" 30 years younger and dies the next week offset lots of cases where couples of more similar age grow old together.)

I think if hubby isn't racing stock cars, isn't robing liquor stores, and isn't looking for a youger replacement bride, then you're likely to grow old together. If he does bring home a young thing, the Mrs can shoot him before the divorce and do her part to help increase the overall "age of widowhood" statistic.
__________________

__________________
"Freedom begins when you tell Mrs. Grundy to go fly a kite." - R. Heinlein
samclem is online now   Reply With Quote
Re: Is the Average Age of Widowhood 55?
Old 04-08-2007, 08:02 AM   #3
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 5,075
Re: Is the Average Age of Widowhood 55?

I wonder if the high divorce rates factor in to this low average age somehow. That would leave a disproportionate number of younger married couples. Where the younger ones die from heart attacks, car wrecks, accidents, cancer, war, etc...

In otherwords, divorce may result (on average) in fewer older people that are married such that the average is skewed.

Factor in that in some percent of the cases of older people the wife goes first (they cannot be a widow by definition).

The model, the dataset, or both are probably flawed. Or they are answering the wrong question. Otherwise this is of little more use than for a board game (i.e., trivial pursuit)

Lies, d@mn lies, and statistics.

__________________
chinaco is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Is the Average Age of Widowhood 55?
Old 04-08-2007, 08:05 AM   #4
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 211
Re: Is the Average Age of Widowhood 55?

MIL became a widow last year @ 56, but I don't know that this proves things one way or the other.
__________________
OKLibrarian is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Is the Average Age of Widowhood 55?
Old 04-08-2007, 09:11 AM   #5
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
grumpy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 1,321
Re: Is the Average Age of Widowhood 55?

Perhaps the figures are skewed by the early deaths of married soldiers. Their wives are widowed at a very early age, reducing the average. Not a pleasant thought but one that occurs to me after watching the evening news.

Grumpy
__________________
...you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave...
grumpy is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Is the Average Age of Widowhood 55?
Old 04-08-2007, 09:24 AM   #6
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
haha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Hooverville
Posts: 20,198
Re: Is the Average Age of Widowhood 55?

This is one of the many things that I am not going to look into.

But the chances that the average US age of widowhood is 55, when the life expectancy at birth of a man in the USA is about 73, and it is higher still if he makes it to marriage age, and supposedly married men live some impossible number of years longer than single men, and...etc.

Best to look at what the outfit publishing this statistic wants. More benefits for widows?

Ha
__________________
Insanity in individuals is something rare-but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule-Friederich Nietzsche
haha is online now   Reply With Quote
Re: Is the Average Age of Widowhood 55?
Old 04-08-2007, 10:19 AM   #7
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 8,733
Re: Is the Average Age of Widowhood 55?

HaHa,
I agree, there factoid is the result of some type of unusual statistical shenanigans and isn't very useful.
Crime-related homicides are a much larger influence than combat deaths. In 2005, 11,683 US males were murdered (compared to 3155 females). I couldn't find the average age, but it looks like about 28. There were 846 US combat deaths that year (male and female). Average age is probably approx 20.
__________________
"Freedom begins when you tell Mrs. Grundy to go fly a kite." - R. Heinlein
samclem is online now   Reply With Quote
Re: Is the Average Age of Widowhood 55?
Old 04-08-2007, 10:31 AM   #8
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
haha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Hooverville
Posts: 20,198
Re: Is the Average Age of Widowhood 55?

Quote:
Originally Posted by samclem
HaHa,
I agree, there factoid is the result of some type of unusual statistical shenanigans and isn't very useful.
Crime-related homicides are a much larger influence than combat deaths.
Right, and a small % of either group are leaving widows.

Ha
__________________
Insanity in individuals is something rare-but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule-Friederich Nietzsche
haha is online now   Reply With Quote
Re: Is the Average Age of Widowhood 55?
Old 04-08-2007, 10:40 AM   #9
Moderator Emeritus
Nords's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Oahu
Posts: 26,355
Re: Is the Average Age of Widowhood 55?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ZMAN
In the Parade Magazine newspaper insert for today, April 7 (yes someone does read that thing) there is an article that says the "average age of widowhood in this country is 55". I googled the phrase and found references to the Census as the source of the statistic. I searched the board and could not find a previous thread (although I suspect there is one). I am 56 and DW is 55. I do not feel like checking out just yet.
This board is great at debunking statistics.
What is the story here?
ZMAN
I don't think it matters what Parade or you decide or even how you feel about it. You don't care about statistics-- you care about what happens to you.

Your spouse is the one with the most control over whether or not she becomes a widow at age 55. Treat her well!
__________________
*
*

The book written on E-R.org, "The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement", on sale now! For more info see "About Me" in my profile.
I don't spend much time here anymore, so please send me a PM. Thanks.
Nords is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Is the Average Age of Widowhood 55?
Old 04-08-2007, 10:46 AM   #10
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 1,183
Re: Is the Average Age of Widowhood 55?

Statistics are simply numbers that folks manipulate to form a basis for opinion. I was widowed in my mid 30's. All that means is my husband passed away. How long anyone lives is a moving target based on enviornment and genetic factors. You can work to improve the odds and postpone the Grim Reaper but for the foreseeable future death & taxes are a certainty.

I bet the Life Insurance companies will be pushing that set of data more now to create fear and sales. But, that is what they are in business to do!
__________________
crazy connie is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Is the Average Age of Widowhood 55?
Old 04-08-2007, 10:47 AM   #11
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
lazygood4nothinbum's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 3,897
Re: Is the Average Age of Widowhood 55?

i don't read parade but how interesting that so many assume (even if the assumption coincidentally coincides with the article) that widowhood 55 refers to the death of the man and not of the woman.

i guess it would be safe for me to assume then that widowhood 55 also excludes loss of a gay partner. though i did my best to bring the numbers down, having buried mine at 35. not that i would expect anyone to consider me a widow; why should anything change now.
__________________
"off with their heads"~~dr. joseph-ignace guillotin

"life should begin with age and its privileges and accumulations, and end with youth and its capacity to splendidly enjoy such advantages."~~mark twain - letter to edward kimmitt 1901
lazygood4nothinbum is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Is the Average Age of Widowhood 55?
Old 04-08-2007, 11:31 AM   #12
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 8,733
Re: Is the Average Age of Widowhood 55?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lazygood4nothinbum
i don't read parade but how interesting that so many assume (even if the assumption coincidentally coincides with the article) that widowhood 55 refers to the death of the man and not of the woman.
I made the assumption because the OP said "widowhood" (husband died) instead "widowerhood" (wife died).

I don't know if numbers for homosexual couples are included. I'd guess not, since there are only a small number of married gays. Of course, if the number includes heterosexual couples who are not married, then gay couples would probably be included, too.
__________________
"Freedom begins when you tell Mrs. Grundy to go fly a kite." - R. Heinlein
samclem is online now   Reply With Quote
Re: Is the Average Age of Widowhood 55?
Old 04-08-2007, 12:35 PM   #13
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
haha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Hooverville
Posts: 20,198
Re: Is the Average Age of Widowhood 55?

Quote:
Originally Posted by samclem
I made the assumption because the OP said "widowhood" (husband died) instead "widowerhood" (wife died).

I don't know if numbers for homosexual couples are included. I'd guess not, since there are only a small number of married gays. Of course, if the number includes heterosexual couples who are not married, then gay couples would probably be included, too.
I think by definition if you are not married, you cannot become a widow or widower.

Something needs to be done about this obvious discrimination!

Ha
__________________
Insanity in individuals is something rare-but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule-Friederich Nietzsche
haha is online now   Reply With Quote
Re: Is the Average Age of Widowhood 55?
Old 04-08-2007, 12:47 PM   #14
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Moemg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Sarasota,fl.
Posts: 8,785
Re: Is the Average Age of Widowhood 55?

I was widowed at 51 and I was shocked when I went to a widow's support group .I figured everybody would be older .No,all the women were in their 50's..
__________________
Moemg is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Is the Average Age of Widowhood 55?
Old 04-08-2007, 04:39 PM   #15
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 92
Re: Is the Average Age of Widowhood 55?

Let's see...I was widowed at 44 and my mother at 82. That gives an average of 53 between the two of us.

Whoops...correction....my mother was widowed at 62 (she died at 82)...giving the average of 53.
__________________
FIREd on 12/31/2006
linkerbink is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Is the Average Age of Widowhood 55?
Old 04-08-2007, 06:25 PM   #16
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
happy2bretired's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Nebraska
Posts: 1,258
Re: Is the Average Age of Widowhood 55?

My mother became a widow at 50 or 51 and I hit the average 55 right on the head.
__________________
happy2bretired is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Is the Average Age of Widowhood 55?
Old 04-08-2007, 07:02 PM   #17
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 1,475
Re: Is the Average Age of Widowhood 55?

I dunno if this is much of a data point to go on, but my grandmother tells me that in her senior citizens' group, there's a whole flock of widows, but only one widower. And she tells me those widow women swarm down on him like locusts on an Ehtiopan wheatfield!

Now granted, there are still a good number of married couples in that group, where both husband and wife are alive and more or less kicking. But it seems like unless you want to go lesbian, there isn't a whole lot out there for many of these old ladies!

As for age differences, now that I think about it, my Mom is 58, while my Dad is 61. Not a whole lot of difference, there. But Dad smokes and drinks, where about the only thing Mom does is have a sip of wine at Easter dinner or something like that.

On my Mom's side, Granddad was 8 years older than Grandmom. He was born in 1916 and she was born in 1924. I forget how old my Grandmom on my Dad's side was, but Granddad was born in 1914. She was a few years younger than him, though. And now that I think back on it, my Granddad on my Mom's side smoked and drank. Heck, he grew up on a tobacco farm, and I think he started smoking around the age of 6! Grandmom rarely smoked or drank. On my Dad's side, both of them gave up smoking immediately, when the surgeon general warning first came out in 1958 or whenever. Some hereditary disease got Grandmom in 1994, but Granddad is still kicking at 92. He doesn't drink much, but I know he can put them away at family gatherings without batting an eye!
__________________
Andre1969 is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Is the Average Age of Widowhood 55?
Old 04-09-2007, 07:39 AM   #18
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
DangerMouse's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Silicon Valley
Posts: 1,812
Re: Is the Average Age of Widowhood 55?

My mother was widowed at 56. I am not planning on being in the same position.
__________________

I be a girl, he's a boy. Think I maybe FIRED since July 08. Mid 40s, no kidlets. Actually am totally clueless as to what is going on with DH.
DangerMouse is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Is the Average Age of Widowhood 55?
Old 04-09-2007, 07:43 AM   #19
Moderator Emeritus
REWahoo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Texas Hill Country
Posts: 33,375
Re: Is the Average Age of Widowhood 55?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DangerMouse
My mother was widowed at 56. I am not planning on being in the same position.
So...you plan on dumping him before you hit 50?

__________________
Numbers is hard...



REWahoo is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Is the Average Age of Widowhood 55?
Old 04-09-2007, 10:13 AM   #20
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
SteveR's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 2,804
Re: Is the Average Age of Widowhood 55?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Moemg
I was widowed at 51 and I was shocked when I went to a widow's support group .I figured everybody would be older .No,all the women were in their 50's..
I was widowed at age 52. I was active on a number of widowed support sites and also some local groups. The presence of younger widows and widowers on an internet site, in my experience, was more related to being technologically "savy" than actual demographics of age. The younger widow(er)s tend to be more computer literate and more likely to use the internet as a support tool. In contrast, the local support groups tended to have more older people.

Not scientific...just personal experience.
__________________

__________________
Work? I don't have time to work....I'm retired.
SteveR is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Does retirement spending decrease with advanced age? JustCurious FIRE and Money 24 01-23-2007 11:29 AM
Real retiring age of Spaniards highest ForeignExchange Life after FIRE 0 01-20-2006 07:58 AM
Average Joe can retire rich mickeyd Young Dreamers 40 01-06-2006 06:36 PM
Net Worth by Age Anon FIRE and Money 18 09-14-2004 04:34 PM
Who picked age 65? mickeyd Other topics 28 05-25-2004 04:20 AM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:01 AM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Early Retirement News right to your Email!

Stay up-to-date with all the latest news to your inbox!

unsusbcribe at anytime with one click

Close [X]