Five Reasons Why Marriage is a Public Health Issue



OTTAWA, September 29, 2016—Marriage is a private choice in Canada, but a new Cardus report indicates that it also has very public consequences for our universal, taxpayer-funded healthcare system. Marriage is Good for your Health reviews 50 published, empirical medical studies that have established a correlation between marital status and health. In fact, the research indicates that a happy marriage provides five main health benefits to adults, compared to those who are single, co-habiting, divorced, separated, or widowed:

  • A 20 percent increase in cancer survival rates
  • Reduced chances of a heart attack and improved surgical recovery rates
  • Improved mental health
  • Healthier lifestyles and habits
  • Better responses to psychological stress

With cancer, heart disease, and stroke estimated to cost Canadians in excess of $43 billion annually, reversing the declining participation in marriage has the potential to save scarce public healthcare resources. As such, there is a public interest in preventing the failure of marriages and helping couples overcome conflict. And if the medical community took marital status into account in treating patients, they could target extra support to unmarried individuals to improve their health outcomes.


"If marriage was a pill, we would be clamouring for it."
—Susan Martinuk, Author - Marriage is Good for your Health

"The science is clear that marriage confers tangible health benefits to individuals and that the failure of marriages takes those benefits away. Our public healthcare system can't afford to ignore this reality."
—Andrea Mrozek - Cardus Family Program Director

To arrange for interviews, contact Daniel Proussalidis, Director of Communications.

Get the full report at and learn about marriage and health here.


About Cardus

Cardus is a think tank dedicated to the renewal of North American social architecture. It conducts independent and original research, produces several periodicals, and regularly stages events with Senior Fellows and interested constituents across Canada and the U.S. To learn more, visit: and follow us on Twitter @cardusca.

Daniel Proussalidis
Cardus - Director of Communications
613.241.4500 x.508


Cardus is a non-partisan think tank dedicated to clarifying and strengthening, through research and dialogue, the ways in which society's institutions can work together for the common good.