The landscape of marriage and divorce in the United States is shifting. Despite all the talk about the breakdown of the American family, the marriage rate is up, the divorce rate is down, and it seems to be a pretty good time to be married in the United States (at least for the young and educated). Still, divorce is a life event that will be experienced by a large segment of the population. Here are some ways divorce demographics are changing in the 21st century.
- The Divorce Rate is at a 40-Year Low
We have all heard the statistic that 50% of marriages end in divorce. Recently, researchers have found the real divorce rate is considerably lower. Experts disagree on the best way to calculate the “divorce rate,” but studies now project about 40% of marriages will ultimately end in divorce. The divorce rate has been declining for decades and is currently at its lowest point since the 1970s, while the marriage rate seems to be rebounding. On average, couples that married in the 1990s and 2000s have longer lasting marriages than people that were married in the 1970s and 1980s.
- “Silver Divorce” is on the Rise
About 25% of couples that file for divorce are at least 50 years old, making the 50+ crowd the largest segment of the divorce population. The number of older Americans getting divorced has doubled in just two decades. This phenomenon has been dubbed “silver divorce” or the “gray divorce revolution.” Several reasons have been cited to explain this trend, including the aging Baby Boomer generation, increasing age at time of first marriage, and the high fail rate of remarriages.
- Second (and Third) Marriages Have a Shockingly High Divorce Rate
While less than half of first marriages end in divorce, the divorce rate among second and subsequent marriages is much higher. About two out of three second marriages, and three out of four third marriages end in divorce. Some researchers criticize the “serial divorcee” for being too quick to jump in and out of marriage. However, remarriage can be challenging for several reasons, especially when there is blended family drama involved.
- Women File for Divorce Two Thirds of the Time (and are Happier for it)
In the United States, about two thirds of divorces are filed by women. Among college educated women, the numbers are even higher. While both men and women experience a drop in their standard of living after a divorce, women are hit the hardest with an average 70% reduction in standard of living in the first year after divorce. Despite this, women report feeling significantly happier in the years following a divorce, a phenomenon that was not statistically significant in men.
Need Legal Help? Call a Dallas Texas Family Law Attorney
The Law Offices of Sharita Blacknall is a full-service family law firm in Dallas, Texas. If you need legal support for your divorce, child custody, or child support issue, we can help. Contact us to speak to an experienced and compassionate family law attorney today.
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