The Golden Years: Men From The Forbes 400 Have Much Younger Wives When Remarrying Than the General US Population


A common stereotype is that richer men have wives who are substantially younger than themselves. However, some research suggests that large age gaps are actually more common with low male income, at least in the general population. Here, we examine spousal age differences among the super wealthy (Forbes 400 list – the richest 400 individuals in the US). Men from the Forbes 400 on average had a spouse who was seven years younger, which is significantly different from the mean age difference between spouses in the US population. Furthermore when these men remarried, their subsequent spouse was substantially younger, twenty-two years younger on average, again markedly different from the general population. Wealthy women did not differ from the general population in terms of spousal age differences. We conclude that based on these data the stereotype that rich men (re)marry younger wives holds a kernel of truth, at least for a sample of the super wealthy.

In Letters on Evolutionary Behavioral Science