Marriage is a common experience among adults in western cultures. It is estimated that by age 50, more than 90% of us will marry at least once. According to the American Psychological Association, this is excellent news because marriage is good for a person's mental and physical health. It is also good for children who thrive in happy homes.
Even with all of the positive side effects of marriage, it's no secret that divorce is just as common. Divorce rates have been on the rise since the 1960s, and almost 39% of U.S. marriages today end in divorce. With the pandemic's added pressures, one might assume that the outlook for marriage in the 2020s is not that bright. But the current marriage and divorce trends might surprise you.
Marriage Rates Are Declining
Only 44% of Millennials, or adults ages 23 to 38, were married in 2019, compared with 53% of Gen Xers and 61% of Baby Boomers at that age. Surprisingly, a decline in marriage doesn't mean that there are fewer millennials in relationships. In that same year, 12% of adults ages 23 to 38 lived with a romantic partner. This is 4% higher than the number of Gen Xers who were cohabitating at that age.
Marriage Occurs Later In Life
For the millennials that have married, the majority are doing so later in life. In 2019, the average age for men and women getting married was 30 and 28, respectively. In 2003, that average was 27 for men and 25 for women. And if you travel back just a little farther to 1987, the average marrying age was 23 and 21 years old, respectively.
Divorce Rates Are Declining
Though marriage rates are declining and couples are tying the knot at older ages, they stay married longer. The U.S. divorce fell from 9.7 new divorces per 1,000 women in 2009 to 7.6 divorces per 1,000 women in 2019.
Divorce and the Pandemic Effect
The pandemic effect on marriage and the divorce rates was something that no one could predict. In 2020, marriage rates declined because of the thousands of weddings that had to be canceled or postponed due to COVID-19. But by April 2020, statistics also showed that the number of people seeking a divorce also had increased by 34%. 20% of those couples had been married for five months or less.
We won't know the real impact of the pandemic on marriage and divorce rates for some time. Still, if you need help navigating the legal aspects of your marriage or divorce, Caulder and Valentine can help. Fill out our online contact form or call (704)470-2440 today to schedule a private consultation.