Current Divorce and Marriage Rates

Someone asked me recently whether the often cited divorce rate of 50 percent was correct for Americans. The answer: Not really. That figure is a result of averaging a lot of facts together. In addition, the divorce rate has fallen some in recent years.

If you are interested, here are details on divorce rates. The higlights:

  • 41% of first marriages in the U.S. end in divorce
  • 60% of second marriages in the U.S. end in divorce
  • 73% of third marriages in the U.S. end in divorce

There are also disparities in the age of the married couple. Those who married between ages 20 to 24 have the highest divorce rates.

Couples with children have lower divorce rates than those without. It has been reported that sociologists believe childlessness to be a common cause of divorce. The absence of children leads to loneliness and weariness and even in the United States, at least 66 percent of all divorced couples are childless. I researched this fact after interviewing a couple who was infertile for 14 years of marriage and later went on to adopt and have two biological children. While infertility did put a strain on their marriage, in the end it brought them closer together as they learned to focus on what they had, rather than on they didn’t have.

To learn more about why people divorce, read the best divorce predictors. Also, read the reasons Americans give for their divorces.

Interestingly, the vast majority of Americans still think marriage is worth the risk; 81% of men and 86% of women marry by the age of 40.

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12 responses to “Current Divorce and Marriage Rates

  1. Thanks for bringing the facts, Lori! This post was very enlightening, and I really enjoyed the last paragraph. With the cultural acceptance of cohabitation and all of the negative portrayals of marriage in the media, it’s cool to see that the vast majority of Americans still believe in it!

  2. Dustin, it’s especially interesting that most Americans still choose marriage when you consider Gen-Xers were born during the highest period of divorces.

  3. Kathleen Quiring

    Thanks for this, Lori! I am a dunce when it comes to numbers and stats and have no idea how to research them. I’ve been wanting a good site to refer to for reliable stats and you’ve finally provided me with one. Thanks!

    Now I just need to find some Canadian ones . . .

  4. Kathleen, I’ll post some other research for you as well. Glad it was helpful.

  5. It would be interesting to know the statistics for those who live as married without “getting the piece of paper”.

    I know that those who live together before marriage have a higher divorce rate than those who don’t. Living together is often assumed to indicate one or both have commitment issues, so I would guess that living together more a symptom as a cause.

    • Yes Paul, but the info would be difficult to obtain since some of those couples end up in traditional marriages while some split up. Probably a small percentage live together (in a commonlaw marriage) indefinitely until they die.

  6. “The absence of children leads to loneliness and weariness.” Huh. As an overworked mom, I’d say that having children increases weariness! Totally worth it, but TOTALLY exhausting.

    And so many studies show that having children causes marital happiness to take a dive which doesn’t return until children leave home.

    http://tinyurl.com/5p4s6a

    • I agree with you Lisa. I think it’s a different kind of weariness here. Where we busy moms may feel weary from all the activity, it is fulfilling at the same time. Emotional weariness is another matter. Still, I have plenty of childless married friends that are fulfilled and happy. And yes, there is a decrease in marital satisfaction during the child rearing years for many couples.

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  10. Sometimes I dont know if its really worth it, been through a first divorce myself and sometimes feel for a second. But then what will stop a 3rd and fourth. I think you get to a point where a change of attitude can do wonders.
    See this every day and try to learn from others mistakes.

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