Age differences between U.S. Politicians and Their Spouses: Similar to the Super Rich or more like your average Joe?

  • Andrew Marios Demetriou VU University Amsterdam De Boelelaan 1105, 1081 HV Amsterdam
  • Thomas V. Pollet
Keywords: human mate choice


Prior research has shown that a sample of super-wealthy men tended to marry (and remarry) younger women than the general U.S. population (Pollet, Pratt, Edwards, and Stulp; 2013). This relationship has been argued to fit with a notion of a mating market, whereby wealthy men offer access to resources in exchange for female youth. The present research examines whether or not a similar exchange relationship potentially also exists in a sample of U.S. politicians, as it is expected that male politicians might also offer resources in exchange for youth. Using data collected via Wikipedia and online news sources on ranking U.S. politicians, our data show that the difference in age between a male politician and his wife does not differ significantly from the current estimate of the general U.S. population. Male U.S. Politicians do show significantly smaller age gaps than the estimate for men from the Forbes 400, however. These results suggests that, at least in terms of the age-gap in marriage, U.S. politicians resemble the general population more than they do the economic elite, perhaps due to a pressure to conform to social norms.


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