In everyday conversation, probably one of the most often-cited relationship statistics is that half of all marriages end in divorce. Not only is this statistic outdated, it falls far short of capturing the current picture of marriage in the United States. Changing demographics and cultural norms are both causing a shift in the way people approach marriage. Here are some surprising facts shown by recent statistics and studies.
Marriage rates are declining – and so are divorces
Marriage rates are at an all-time low, at least according to data going back to 1870. Marriage and divorce rates have historically been affected by current events, so for example, marriage numbers rose just before World War I and World War II, as people rushed to tie the knot before deployment. In turn, divorce numbers rose at the end of the wars when more couples were able to live together. However, the marriage and divorce rates have been steadily declining since about 1980, as more adults choose cohabitation or to live apart singly, with 2010 data showing 6.8 marriages and 2.8 divorces per 1,000 people in the U.S.
More adults live alone
According to research from 2015, 42% of adults live alone without a spouse or partner. While the marriage rate is declining and cohabitation rate is increasing, the cohabitation numbers do not offset the drop in marriages. This leaves more adults living alone. Adults across all ages are increasingly opting for single living, but the numbers are highest among younger adults. More than 60% of adults under age 35 now live singly.
Baby boomer divorce is on the rise
While divorce rates are falling among younger Americans, those age 50 and over are getting divorced at increasing rates. Sine 1990, the divorce rate for adults over 50 has doubled, while the rate for those age 65 and over has tripled. This only captures the trend, not the overall picture; younger people are still far more likely to get divorced than seniors. Some analysts believe the rise in “gray divorce” may be related to the numbers of Baby Boomers who have already been through a first divorce and are therefore involved in statistically less stable subsequent marriages.
Speak with a family lawyer if you are facing a divorce
Marriage, divorce, and even cohabitation affect the legal rights of the parties involved, and when there are children involved, they may continue to do so for years. If you may be heading into a divorce or separation, call a NY & NJ divorce lawyer at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman.
It is important to understand both your rights and your responsibilities when taking on a major restructuring of your family. Our attorneys are here to help, with offices in Rockland County and Bergen County. Call today to schedule a consultation.
Additional Marriage and Divorce Resources:
- Washington Post, 144 years of marriage and divorce in the United States, in one chart, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/06/23/144-years-of-marriage-and-divorce-in-the-united-states-in-one-chart/?utm_term=.6e15145707f4
- Pew Research Center, The share of Americans living without a partner has increased, especially among young adults, http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/10/11/the-share-of-americans-living-without-a-partner-has-increased-especially-among-young-adults/
- Pew Research Center, Led by Baby Boomers, divorce rates climb for America’s 50+ population, http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/03/09/led-by-baby-boomers-divorce-rates-climb-for-americas-50-population/