- The US Census Bureau tracks patterns in marital status by age among Americans, including divorce statistics.
- In recent years, older Americans are more likely to have been divorced, separated, or in a second or later marriage than in previous decades.
- Younger Americans are more likely to be never married or in a first marriage.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
A lot of people get married. And if things work out, they’ll stay happily married.
But things don’t always work out.
Using individual-level Census data from the Minnesota Population Center’s Integrated Public Microdata Sample project, we took a closer look at different marital outcomes by each year of age in 2018, the latest year for which data is available.
Based on responses to questions about marital status and number of marriages, we found the proportion of the population at each age that had never married, was in a first marriage, was widowed, or was in a situation in which a first marriage had ended. That last group combines people who responded they were divorced, separated from their spouse, or in a second, third, or later marriage.
In 2018, about 9% of 30-year-olds had already ended one marriage. The proportion of people who were divorced, separated, or married multiple times maxed out at age 62 when about 41.6% of respondents fell into this category. That was just shy of the 42.3% of 62-year-olds who were in their first marriage:
We also compared the 2018 proportions of people who were divorced, separated, or married multiple times to those proportions from earlier decades. The 1960 and 1980 Census long-form survey, the predecessor of the American Community Survey, also included questions about marital status and number of marriages.
The results were interesting: In 1960 and 1980, a higher proportion of 20-somethings had a marriage end than in 2018. More people were divorced, separated, or in second or third marriages by their late 20s or early 30s in 1960 and 1980 than in 2018.
On the other hand, older Americans have been more likely to fall in this category in recent years: In 2018, respondents in their mid-40s and older were far more likely to be divorced, separated, or in a later marriage than people of an equivalent age in earlier decades:
- Business Insider/Andy Kiersz, data from IPUMS
- Read more:
- We did the math to calculate how many hours it takes America’s top CEOs to make what their workers earn in one year
- The census count of everyone in America is underway, and it’s about to make the US government one of the biggest gig employers in the country
- 15 jobs that have practically disappeared since Trump became president
- This map shows the most commonly spoken language in every US state, excluding English and Spanish