Generation X and Millennials Divorce Less Than Baby Boomers

We have all probably heard multiple times that half of all marriages will end in divorce. It’s actually wrong now, but it was true in the 1980s in America. Since the 1980 divorce has been on the decline. Currently, researchers say that divorce is around 39% in the U.S.

This may seem like a positive new trend, but in practice, this does not mean necessarily that more people are happily married, there are many factors to consider.

One of these factors are the generational changes. Americans under the age of 45 are staying married more than the older generation, the baby boomers.

Research shows that younger couples have a different approach to relationships than baby boomers. Generation X and especially millennials marry at older ages and are being more selective about who they marry. They are usually waiting to marry only after they have completed their education and are more established, even because good jobs for those who only have a high school diploma have become harder to find.

This seems to suggest that falling divorce rates are a consequence of marriage becoming a more specialized institution, reserved for more educated and mature people. In the past, marriage was more of a starting point for young people, while now it is becoming more of a sign that they have achieved their goals.

Among the poor and uneducated, divorce rates are still very close to where they were in the 1980s.

Census figures released on Nov. 14 2018 show that the median age at first marriage in the U.S. is now nearly 30 for men and 28 for women, up from 27 and 25 in 2003.

However, this doesn’t account for cohabitation that is becoming the new normal in most western countries. In 2018, 15% of people ages 25 to 34 were cohabiting, 12% more than a decade earlier. More Americans under 25 live with a partner (9%) than are married to one (7%). Two decades ago, only 5% were cohabiting while 14% were married.

Research has also shown that low-income couples have the tendency to decide to cohabit earlier than those who have a college education. But those who start cohabitation sooner are also less likely to get married later.

The divorce rate is actually declining, therefore, but mostly because those who decide to get married are becoming a smaller and more privileged group of individuals. When we account for all factors, the trend doesn’t seem to be really improving.

Other Highlights From the 2018 Census


  • In 2018, there are 35.7 million single-person households, composing 28 percent of all households. In 1960, single-person households represented only 13 percent of all households.

Marriage and Family

  • In 2018, 32 percent of all adults age 15 and over have never been married, up from 23 percent in 1950.
  • Over a quarter (27 percent) of children under the age of 15 who live in married-couple families have a stay-at-home mother, compared to only 1 percent who have a stay-at-home father.

Living Arrangements of Adults and Children

  • Over half (54 percent) of young adults ages 18 to 24 live in the parental home, compared to 16 percent of young adults ages 25 to 34.

Unmarried Couples

  • In 2018, there were 8.5 million unmarried opposite-sex couples living together.

A Few More Statistics About Divorce

I have found out that Divorce Attorneys’ websites like to give statistics about divorce. Perhaps they want to convince people that they are in good company if they decide to move forward with their divorce plan. One website in particular has lots of statistics. I don’t know if they are good lawyers, but if you want to know all sort of statistics, you can visit this page of their website DIVORCE STATISTICS: OVER 115 STUDIES, FACTS AND RATES FOR 2018, from where I am taking just a few that I share below. I am not planning to divorce, so I will not use their services, and I hope you will not need them also, but the statistics are interesting.

Median duration of first marriages that end in divorce:

Males: 7.8 years
Females: 7.9 years

Median duration of second marriages:

Males: 7.3 years
Females: 6.8 years

People wait an average of three years after a divorce to remarry (if they remarry at all).


Who is getting divorced?

The average age for couples going through their first divorce is 30 years old.

60 percent of all divorces involve individuals aged 25 to 39.

Wives are the ones who most often file for divorce at 66 percent on average. That figure has soared to nearly 75 percent in some years.

5 Professions with highest divorce rate:

  • Dancers – 43
  • Bartender s- 38.4
  • Massage Therapists – 38.2
  • Gaming Cage Workers – 34.6
  • Gaming Service Workers – 31.3

5 Professions with lowest divorce rate:

  • Farmers – 7.63
  • Podiatrists – 6.81
  • Clergy – 5.61
  • Optomitrists – 4.01
  • Agricultural Engineers – 1.78

Why people are divorcing in the United States

Lack of commitment is the most common reason given by divorcing couples according to a recent national survey. Here are the reasons given and their percentages:

  • Lack of commitment 73%
  • Argue too much 56%
  • Infidelity 55%
  • Married too young 46%
  • Unrealistic expectations 45%
  • Lack of equality in the relationship 44%
  • Lack of preparation for marriage 41%
  • Domestic Violence or Abuse 25%

(Respondents often cited more that one reason, therefore the percentages add up to much more than 100 percent)


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