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Previous studies have shown that marital status is an independent prognostic factor for survival in several types of cancer. In this study, we investigated the effects of marital status on survival outcomes among renal cell carcinoma (RCC) patients.We identified patients diagnosed with RCC between 1973 and 2013 from the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) database. Kaplan–Meier analysis and Cox regression were used to identify the effects of marital status on overall survival (OS) and cancer-specific survival (CSS).We enrolled 97,662 eligible RCC patients, including 64,884 married patients, and 32,778 unmarried (9831 divorced/separated, 9692 widowed, and 13,255 single) patients at diagnosis. The 5-year OS and CSS rates of the married, separated/divorced, widowed, and single patients were 73.7%, 69.5%, 58.3%, and 73.2% (OS), and 82.2%, 80.7%, 75.7%, and 83.3% (CSS), respectively. Multivariate Cox regression showed that, compared with married patients, widowed individuals showed poorer OS (hazard ratio, 1.419; 95% confidence interval, 1.370–1.469) and CSS (hazard ratio, 1.210; 95% confidence interval, 1.144–1.279). Stratified analyses and multivariate Cox regression showed that, in the insured and uninsured groups, married patients had better survival outcomes while widowed patients suffered worse OS outcomes; however, this trend was not significant for CSS.In RCC patients, married patients had better survival outcomes while widowed patients tended to suffer worse survival outcomes in terms of both OS and CSS.