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Marriage and Divorce in the United States

Posted on in Divorce

marriage and divorce, gray divorces, Oakland County divorce lawyer, divorce statistics, remarriageIs it still true that “Love and marriage, love and marriage, go together like a horse and carriage?” According to the latest U.S. Census statistics, love and marriage do not go together as much as they once did.

What Percentage of Americans Are Married?

U.S. Census data shows that the percentage of Americans over age 15 living in matrimony has declined over the past 20 years, from 56 percent in 1997 to 52 percent in 2017. Even if you only count adults age 20-64, you still get a 52 percent married rate.

The decline is attributed to people choosing to marry at a later age or not at all. The percentage of the population age 15+ who have never been married increased from 22 percent in 1997 to 32 percent in 2017. Also, the median age at first marriage went up between 1990 and 2015, rising from age 26.1 to 29.5 for men and from age 23.9 to 27.4 for women.

The married share of the population rises logically with age. In 2017, just 10 percent of Americans age 20 to 24 and 31 percent of those age 25 to 29 were in a marriage. The married share of the population jumps significantly after that, with 51 percent of 30- to 34-year-olds and 61 percent of 35- to 39-year-olds married. The married share of the population peaks at 65 percent for the 40- to 49-year-old age group. After that, widowhood and divorce start taking their toll.

What Percentage of Americans Are Divorced?

The percentage of the population who are divorced (and not remarried) rises with age. Less than 10 percent of the 30- to 39-year-old group is divorced, and that rises to 12 percent for ages 40 to 44, and almost 15 percent for ages 45 to 49. The divorced ratio is highest among the 50- to 64-year-old age group at 16 percent.

Are “Gray Divorces” Becoming More Common?

According to the Pew Research Center, the divorce rate among Americans age 50+ has roughly doubled in the past 25 years. There were five divorces per 1000 married people age 50+ in 1990, and that figure rose to 10 divorces per 1000 in 2015. Later-life divorce tends to look a lot different than other divorces. For example, child support is often the thorniest issue in a divorce in one’s twenties or thirties.

In contrast, when a divorce happens in one’s fifties or sixties, division of property and spousal support are more likely to be contentious, as couples have typically amassed more assets. Therefore, it can be harder for an at-home spouse to re-enter the workforce. Additionally, concerns about retirement income are more immediate.

How Many People Remarry After Divorce?

A Pew Research Center analysis found that 23 percent of all married people (about 12 percent of the total U.S. population) were in a second marriage in 2013.

In that same year, 40 percent of all new marriages included a spouse who had been previously married. Interestingly, men were more likely to remarry than women. Sixty-four percent of divorced/widowed men remarried versus 52 percent of women.

The bottom line is that American adults are still more likely to be living as married couples than not. Yet clearly marriage is not the social norm that once was in the past.

Trusted Divorce Attorneys in Southeast Michigan

If you are thinking about divorce, always consult a lawyer before making any moves. Working with an experienced and compassionate Farmington Hills divorce lawyer will make sure your best interests are protected throughout the process. Call Elkouri Heath, PLC at 248-344-9700 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with a knowledgeable divorce lawyer at our Novi, Michigan office.





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