It is hard to find accurate and up-to-date statistics on divorce. Everyone has heard the saying that “1 in 2 marriages end in divorce”, but is that even true anymore? Where did that number come from? While different state and federal agencies collect data, not all of it is reported or compiled together.

Collecting accurate statistics takes time. The information must be gathered and is usually released at the end of the year. This means that we are currently looking at statistics from 2017 and 2018 to guess marriage outcomes for 2019, 2020, and beyond. Despite some irregularities, researchers do agree on some common statistics and facts about divorce.

Divorce Rates are Dropping

As of 2019, the divorce rate had declined by 24%. While this may seem like good news, it is important to remember that a statistic number does not represent all that is going on.

The main reason the rate is declining is that more people are delaying or forgoing marriage altogether. The median age to get married has risen to 27 for women and 29 for men. Couples are also waiting for an average of almost five years of dating before getting married.

A lot of marriages still end in Divorce

The statistic that one in two marriages will end in divorce is no longer true. Experts still predict that at least 39% of all marriages will end in divorce. While this rate is lower than the previous 50% number, it is still high. It is also again mostly based on young people delaying marriage. The 39% rate is for all marriages in the U.S. This number does not identify groups that may have higher chances of getting divorced.

What is the Seven Year Itch?

The seven-year itch is a psychological term that refers to the fact that many couples seem to split up after around seven years of marriage. Surprisingly, this fact is completely true and the average length of a marriage in the U.S. that ends in divorce is seven years. Federal data even shows that this has been true since as far back as the 1860s. While there has not been a definitive answer on why this happens, many psychologists believe that it is due to either being bored with your partner or staying in the marriage long enough to have children and raise them out of infancy.

What Factors Make People More Likely To Divorce?

Around 60% of all first divorces take place between spouses who are ages 25 through 39. Other risk factors that lead to a higher rate in divorce include marrying young, having less education or income, being a child of divorce, having a large age gap between partners, not being religious, your wedding or wedding ring cost a disproportionate amount to your peers, or you have been divorced previously. One more interesting factor is that highly attractive people are more likely to get divorced.

What Factors Make People Less Likely To Divorce?

Several studies have identified factors that make it less likely a couple will divorce. Couples that do not live together before marriage tend to stay together. So do couples that are more wealthy and have higher educational degrees. Additional factors include marrying over 25 years of age, having parents that are still married, being religious, and having a baby eight to nine months after marriage. The location of the couple also is a factor. In 2018, California had one of the lower divorce rates at only 6.7%.

LGTBQ Marriage and Divorce

When same-sex marriage became legal in all U.S. states, so did same-sex divorce. Some states had already made it legal for same-sex couples to marry. In New Orleans, the first same-sex divorce came before the state had its first gay marriage.

In 2016, the divorce rate between LGTBQ couples was lower than the national average at 36%. Interestingly, marriages between two women tend to end in divorce more often than a marriage between two men. Divorce rates collected from countries where same-sex marriage has been legal for years seems to endorse the trend that gay couples are less likely to divorce than straight ones.

Effects of Divorce on Children

Children of divorce are known to be more likely to get divorced themselves when they grow up and get married. However, a 2011 study found that parents who stayed in an unhappy marriage for their children may not be making things any better. Children who grow up in a high-conflict household are even more likely to get divorced later on than those who come from a family where the parents separated. 

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