Lower marriage and divorce rates among twins than among singletons in Danish birth cohorts 1940-1964

Inge Petersen, Torben Martinussen, Matthew McGue, Paul Bingley, Kaare Christensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations


Few studies have examined differences of civil status of twins and singletons and the conclusions are contradictory. In the present study, based on a linkage between the Danish Twin Register, a random 5% sample of the total Danish population, and administrative register databases, the authors compare rates of marriage and divorce in a sample of 35,975 twins and 81,803 singletons born 1940-1964. Cox-regressions are used in order to control for potential confounders. We find that compared with singletons twins have significantly lower marriage rates: (males: 15-19 years: Hazard Ratio (HR) = 0.66 (95%CI: 0.58-0.76); 20-24 years: 0.85 (0.82-0.88); 25 years or more: 0.96 (0.93-0.98) and females: 15-19 years: 0.70 (0.67-0.75); 20-24 years: 0.83 (0.80-0.85); 25 years or more: 0.94 (0.91-0.97)). There is no difference in divorce rates for males, but a significantly lower divorce rate for female twins compared with singletons (HR=0.87, 95%CI: 0.83-0.90). These differences offset each other, thus 57% of both populations remain in their first marriage until censoring. The interpretation may be that since twins have a partner from birth, they do not have the same need for marriage as singletons but have more experience in maintaining a relationship if they do marry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)150-157
Number of pages8
JournalTwin Research and Human Genetics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2011


  • Denmark
  • Divorce rate
  • Marriage rate
  • Register study
  • Singletons
  • Twins

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