American Marriage by the Numbers
Special Report - May 25, 2011
A new report from the U.S. Census Bureau includes several interesting findings, including the fact that Americans are marrying at older ages, if they marry at all. The report, Number, Timing, and Duration of Marriages and Divorces: 2009, was released May 18, 2011. Over the last 60 years, the average age at which Americans marry rose “from 23 for men and 20 for women in 1950, to 28 for men and 26 for women in 2009.” While the median age for women to marry for the first time was 22 or 23 in 2009, depending on race, the median age at separation was 29, and the median age at divorce was 30 or 31, depending on race. Men’s median ages for each of these categories were two to three years older than women. While nearly 27 percent of women ages 25-29 were not married in 1986, that number jumped to nearly 47 percent in 2009. The number of women between the ages of 40 and 55 who have never been married has roughly tripled since 1986. However, by age 55, the 5.8 percent of women who are not married is somewhat closer to the 1986 figure of 4.8 percent. These results were especially pronounced among black women, with 71 percent of black 25 to 29-year-old women unmarried in 2009. Fully two-thirds of men and nearly three-fourths of women older had ever been married in 2009. By age 50, 10 percent or fewer Americans have never been married.
The report also examined the duration of marriages, finding that 55 percent of currently married couples have been married for 15 or more years with 35 percent married at least 25 years. These figures are slightly higher than in 1996, which the report credits to the increase in life expectancy and stagnation of divorce rates. The report points out that first marriages that occurred before the enactment of new divorce lawsnotably no-fault divorce among themin the late 1970s lasted longer than marriages entered into with the new divorce laws in effect. Additionally, 72 percent of currently married spouses have only been married to each other.
According to the report, the divorce rate peaked in the early 1970s, but leveled off to about 20 per 1,000 women in the mid-1970s and has remained close to that ever since. It went on to state, “First marriages that ended in divorce lasted a median of eight years for men and women,” and most first-time divorcees who remarry do so within four years of their divorce. “Marriages are most susceptible to divorce in the early years,” according to the report.
National Marriage Week - February 7, 2011
Educated Favor Marriage More - December 9, 2010
Attitudes On Sex And Marriage - November 23, 2010
Census Report Examines Cohabitation - November 9, 2010
Study Shows College Marriage Gap - October 22, 2010
Most Children Live With Parents - July 27, 2010
Characteristics of Cohabiting Adults Studied - July 16, 2009
The Benefits of Marriage - FNC - Nov/Dec, 2008
Married and Healthy - FNC - Nov/Dec, 2008
Report Analyzes Cohabitation Effects - June 23, 2008
Landmark Study Estimates Costs of Family Fragmentation - April 16, 2008
Traditional Family Still the Majority - February 27, 2008
How Cohabitation Undermines Marriage and the Family - Findings - June 2005
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