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Study: Waiting to marry decreases divorce rate

On Behalf of | May 26, 2011 | Divorce

It’s a common belief that with age comes wisdom. If the saying is true, it seems as though its truth reaches even into the realm of marriage. To put it plainly, research suggests that when people marry at an older age, the less likely they are to divorce.

The U.S. Census Bureau recently published the findings of a new study that measured and analyzed marriage statistics throughout the United States. The report was based on survey results from approximately 55,000 adults. Researchers measured patterns in marriage and divorce from 1940 through 2009 in the U.S. and concluded that marriage and divorce trends have indeed changed.

As of 2009, the divorce rate was approximately 35 percent. Thirteen years earlier in 1996, that rate was 5 percent higher but still not as high as it was in 1980. The Census Bureau stated numerous factors that may have led to the decrease in the national divorce rate. The most likely reason, according to the report, is that both men and women are getting married later in life.

In 1950, the median age for marriage was 20 for women and 23 for men. Today, that median has changed to 26 for women and 28 for men. The report indicated that marriages tend to be more susceptible to dissolution when partners get married at a young age. Marriages are also more fragile in the early years. Approximately 10 percent of divorce proceedings occur within the first five years of the marriage.

Another interesting finding of the report was the number of times that individuals remarried. Over half of the survey respondents reported that they had only been married once. Approximately 12 percent indicated that they had been married twice and 3 percent reported that they had been married three or more times.

Have you noticed any of these reported family trends to be true? False? Why do you think that the divorce rate as supposedly dropped over the past few decades?


The New York Times: “Study Finds Women Slower to Wed, and Divorce Easing,” Sabrina Tavernise, 18 May 2011


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