Women aged 60 with children could expect to live a further 24.6 years, whereas those without could expect another 23.1 years.
At the age of 80, men with children could expect to live a further 7.7 years, while those without could live seven years.
For women aged 80 with children, they could expect a further 9.5 years, while those without could live a further 8.9 years.
Dr Modig said further research was planned to analyse whether characteristics of the children such as their education levels had an effect on their parents’ life expectancies.
Once a marriage ends, for whatever reason, women are much less likely than men to try it again.
Rates of remarriage are almost twice as high for men as for women.
While the sex of the children was not found to affect life expectancy, the difference in death risk was greater in parents who were not married than those who were, especially among men.
“One explanation could be that, especially in these cohorts of old people, it’s more likely that the man is older than the woman, so maybe women are more likely to be carers,” said Dr Modig.
Some of that can be explained by more advantageous sex ratios for men who want to remarry than women, but that is unlikely to be the entire explanation for such a big difference.
Living Single and Living Alone: Women Do It Better With single life, as with marriage, there are important studies showing no reliable sex differences at all.
Another kind of research in which men and women fare about the same are studies that follow the same people over time as they go from being single to getting married.
A review of 18 such studies found that people generally become no happier after they get married.
Having children can increase life expectancy, especially in very old age, a new study has found.