In 1858, a British epidemiologist named William Farr set out to study what he called the "conjugal condition" of the people of France.
He divided the adult population into three distinct categories: the "married", consisting of husbands and wives, the "celibate", defined as the bachelors and spinsters who had never married, and finally the "widowed", those who had experienced the death of a spouse.
Using birth, death and marriage records, the results showed that the unmarried died from disease "in undue proportion" to their married counterparts. And the widowed fared worst of all.
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