Senior Divorce Jumps 250% in Last 20 Years: Study

Read how a new study done at Bowling Green State University has shown that the percentage of people over 50 who are divorcing has skyrocketed over the past 20 years, and reasons why including longer life span.

By Divorce Magazine
Updated: July 17, 2014
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According to a study from Bowling Green State University, the percentage of people over 50 who are choosing to divorce has skyrocketed.

Back in 1990, 9 out of 10 people had blown out 50 anniversary cake candles. But fast forward two decades years, and that number has plummeted to under 3 in 10.

The study's authors, who relied on data from the US Government's 2009 American Communities Survey, also looked at divorce demographics and observed that education was a factor in 50+ divorces, with less educated people couples tending to divorce more than their more educated counterparts.

So, what's behind the staggering 150% jump in so-called "grey divorce"? The study's authors speculate that a number of factors are feeding the trend, such as longer lifespan, and the fact that divorce rates among couples on their 2nd or 3rd marriage is 2.5 times higher than couples on their 1st marriage.

"Increasingly, these are baby boomers," commented study co-author Susan L. Brown. "They were the first generation to come of age when we saw the rapid acceleration in premarital cohabitation and divorce rates in the 1970s and the early 1980s."

Brown also noted that what couples expect from their marriage has likely contributed to more marital unhappiness instead of harmony.

"We have high expectations for what constitutes a good marriage today and we're looking for self-fulfillment and individual happiness in our relationships," added Brown. "When you are 60, 65 you retire, (and say) 'Well, I can live another 20, 25 years. Do I want to spend my life with that person? Is she or he making me happy?' And if not, well, divorce is a viable alternative."

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By Divorce Magazine| July 10, 2012

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