Divorce rates are spiking for one demographic and meaningfully falling for another - you'll likely be surprised:
Bottom Line: If I told you that one generation/age range had a dramatic increase in divorce rates since 1990 and another is experiencing a significant decrease what would you guess?
I'd suspect that most would answer that older couples would have a lowering divorce rate and the Millennials would be seeing a surge in divorce rates right? Well, flip that around and you'll have the answer. According to the Pew Research Center here are the change in divorce rates based on age range:
- 25-39: -21%
- 40-49: +14%
- 50+: +109%
That's right... It's the Boomer generation that's experiencing a boom in divorce rates as divorce after 50 has more than doubled as compared to their parents at 50+. Meanwhile the younger Xer's and older Millennials are actually experiencing meaningfully lower divorce rates compared to their parents at the same age. What's behind this?
According to Pew's findings the most prevalent reason for the Boomer divorce rates rising so dramatically are rising life expectancy rates. Average American life expectancy didn't reach 70 until the 1970's - meaning that by 50 the average couple knew they had fewer than twenty years to live and often weren't in as good of health. With life expectancy being over 80 these days and health at 50 typically being better than ever - many empty nesters have decided that they don't want to stay in relationships for convenience. While this makes me sad from a religious/familial consideration - it makes perfect sense. Meanwhile, younger adults have pushed out marriage later in life. In 1990 the average age of a first time married couple was 25. By 2000 it was 27. Today it's around 28. Divorce rates have historically been highest for those who marry earliest. With people being settled into their careers and perhaps more mature in their decision making when they marry we're seeing meaningful improvement with the younger adults.