The Divorce Rate Is at a 40-Year Low, Unless You’re 55 or Older
Younger married couples are less likely to split up, but ‘gray’ divorces among older couples are on the rise
By Jo Craven McGinty
….In 2017, around one million couples in the U.S. called it quits.
That may sound like a lot of busted unions, but the rate of divorce—just like the rate of marriage—is down.
Today, younger married couples are less likely to split up than they once were, driving the trend. But, at the same time, the rate of divorce for older generations has increased in a phenomenon known as “gray” divorce.
By 2017, the rate had dropped to 16.1 divorces for every 1,000 marriages. That’s a decrease of 29% from the high point and the lowest the divorce rate has been in 40 years.
One cause, researchers believe, is that people are delaying marriage.
“There’s a fear of divorce or a specter of divorce looming large in people’s minds,” said Wendy D. Manning, co-director of Bowling Green’s Center for Family and Marriage Research. “They don’t want to make a mistake. They’re waiting longer to get married to divorce-proof their marriage.”
In 1963, the average woman married at around age 20, according to Tera R. Jordan, an associate professor of human development and family studies at Iowa State University.
By 2017, the median age at marriage was 27 for women and 29 for men.