Upside to living alone: Your leftover pizza won't go missing. Downside: You have a greater risk of dying, or so says a four-year study of 45,000 people from 29 countries. Researchers found that those living solo under age 65 had a 21% greater chance of dying; in their study, 9.3% of those who had a roommate died within the four years, compared to 11.4% of those who had none. The researchers believe the main reason for the bump may simply be that being alone means there is no one around to help when something goes wrong, notes the Orlando Sentinel.
Paradoxically, though, living alone reduces the risk of dying as you get older. From ages 65 to 80, researchers observed no difference in death rates. And for people past their 80th birthday, living alone actually lowered the risk of dying, by about 14%. "More research needs to be done," says one researcher, "but the hunch is if you make it to 80 and are independent, you're doing pretty well." (Read more longevity stories.)