One of the most talked-about divorce statistics is the fact that 50% of marriages end in divorce. But is this statistic actually true?
In reality, over any given year, fewer than 5% of marriages end in divorce. Add this up, and over time, the actual percentage of divorces is between 40 and 50%.
Ethnicity, age and money are also factors in a divorce, believe it or not. Read on to learn some surprising statistics and trends regarding the divorce rate in the United States.
Current Divorce Statistics
While it may seem as though divorces are on the rise, the opposite is actually true. After spiking in the 1970s, divorces have been declining since 1981. At the same time, the number of marriages has also been dropping, so it makes sense.
When it comes to divorce, women tend to have the power. Nearly two-thirds of all divorces are initiated by women. Most divorces are initiated by white women, while black women are least likely to end their marriages. The more financial independence a woman has, the more likely she is to file for divorce.
There are several factors that make a woman less likely to divorce. A woman who is religious, college educated, married after age 25, with a baby after marriage and earning an income of $50,000 or more is up to 30% less likely to file for divorce than a woman with none of those factors. However, some statistics show that religion does not have much of an effect on divorce after all. The divorce rate for Christians is 25%, which is pretty much the same as non-religious adults.
Age should also be taken into consideration when discussing divorce statistics. Millennials are actually less likely to divorce than older couples. Gray divorce has been on the rise in the past several years, with couples over the age of 50 ending their marriages at record rates.
Even location can have an effect on divorce. Those who live on the West Coast are more likely to divorce than those who live in the central or eastern United States. However, Arkansas has the highest divorce rate, at 23.4 per 1,000 married people. This makes sense, considering that the marriage rate in the state is also the fifth highest in the nation.
Other Divorce Trends
There are many reasons why couples hold off on divorce despite being unhappily married. One major reason is the sheer cost of divorce. While it is possible to get divorced for just a few thousand dollars, it is rare. When children and high numbers of assets are involved, there is likely to be some contention among the couple. A contested divorce is not cheap to fight. The average contested divorce costs anywhere from $53,000 to $188,000.
If you are itching to get married again after a divorce, you may want to hold off. Statistics show that subsequent marriages are even more likely to fail. A second marriage has a 67% chance of failing, while a third or subsequent marriage increase the chance of divorce even more.
If you are a young adult who has never been married, you may want to wait a few years. Marrying after age 25 reduces the risk of divorce. To reduce your risk of divorce the most, wait until your mid-30s to tie the knot. The divorce rate is lowest among those who marry between the ages of 35 and 39. At that age, the rate is just 5.1% for women and 6.5% for men.
For men, the average age of a first marriage is just under 27 years old. The median age of divorce is 30.5, meaning that the average length of a first marriage is between three and four years. For women, the average age of their first marriage is 25.3, with divorce happening at around age 29. Again, the average marriage length is less than four years.
When deciding to remarry, women are actually the ones to jump into a second marriage more quickly. It takes them, on average, three years vs. three and a half years for men.
If you are looking to stay married for the long run, what can you expect and what are the odds against you? More than 80% of married couples will stay married at least five years. Nearly two-thirds will celebrate their 10th anniversary. A little more than half of all married couples will make it until at least their 15th wedding anniversary.
If these statistics have scared you away from marriage, do not let them. While there are societal pressures to get married and have children by a certain age, keep in mind that approximately 25% of the adult population has never been married. Many couples nowadays are choosing to live together without saying “I do,” so that is certainly an option. A successful and happy marriage takes a lot of hard work and is not the right choice for everyone.
Seek Legal Help
If you are considering ending your marriage, knowing the facts about divorce can make the process easier. Hopefully these statistics and trends can help you determine if divorce—or even getting married altogether—is the right choice for you.
If you are considering divorce, having the right legal help on your side can make all the difference. Palm Beach divorce attorney Scott J. Stadler can protect your legal rights and help you make the right decisions during this stressful time. Schedule a consultation today by calling (954) 346-6464.