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Increasing divorce rates for older Americans

Have you been divorced? Some New York residents will tell you that divorce rates appear to be rising. This is true, but the divorce rate is dramatically increasing among older Americans. Recent studies are examining the cause of this rise.

Did you know that the divorce rate has doubled for older individuals over the past decade? This is because baby boomers have already been divorced. Studies show that subsequent marriages have a 150% greater chance of ending in divorce. So, those who married and divorced between their 20s and 40s have a greater chance of ending an additional marriage.

Furthermore, 50 percent of older people who divorced in 2009 had been married fewer than two decades. Sources say that of those who stayed together, 60 percent had been married for more than three whole decades. This shows that longer marriages have a greater survival rate.

Given these statistics, researchers wondered what was causing divorce. In 2003, a survey evaluated 1,148 Americans who had gotten divorced between age 40 and 69. Of those evaluated, over one-fourth of individuals listed cheating as the reason. Nevertheless, studies suggest that infidelity is the key reason for divorce in all age groups. This makes it difficult to pinpoint any age-specific grounds for divorce.

We are still studying the reasons that contribute to increasing divorce rates; but, there is hope. Younger boomers were married in the 1990s, when divorce rates were waning. Therefore, if these individuals were not divorced in their 20s or 30s, then statistics suggest that they have a greater chance of a sustainable marriage.

Divorce is a difficult process to deal with. Nevertheless, the new studies demonstrate some of the factors that may be connected to ending a marriage.

Source: Wall Street Journal, "What are the risk factors?" Carl Bialik, March 3, 2012

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