- The US Census Bureau tracks marital status patterns by age of Americans, including divorce statistics.
- In recent years, older Americans were more likely to be divorced, separated, or married in a second or later marriage than in previous decades.
- Younger Americans tend never to be married or have their first marriage.
- Further information can be found on the Business Insider homepage.
Many people get married. And if things work out, they'll be happily married.
But things don't always work out.
Use single-level census data from the Integrated public microdata sample project from the Minnesota Population CenterIn 2018, the last year for which data is available, we looked at the different results of marriage for each year of life.
Based on the answers to questions about marital status and the number of marriages, we found that the proportion of the population at any age who had never married was in a first marriage, was widowed, or was in a situation where one first marriage had ended. This last group includes people who replied that they were divorced, separated from their spouse, or married in a second, third, or later marriage.
In 2018, around 9% of 30-year-olds had already married. The proportion of people who divorced, separated or married several times reached a maximum at 62, when around 41.6% of those surveyed fell into this category. That was just a shyness of the 42.3% of 62 year olds who were in their first marriage:
We also compared the proportions of people divorced, separated, or married in 2018 to the proportions of previous decades. The long-term census of 1960 and 1980, the forerunner of the American community survey, also included questions about marital status and the number of marriages.
The results were interesting: in 1960 and 1980, a higher proportion of 20-year-olds ended their marriage than in 2018. In 1960 and 1980, more people were divorced, separated, or married in a second or third marriage than in the late one 20s or early 30s in 2018.
On the other hand, older Americans have tended to fall into this category in recent years: in 2018, respondents in their mid-forties and older were divorced, separated, or later married far more than people of equivalent age in previous decades: