Marriage and Divorce Statistics

We had a quick overview of the various statistics pertaining to legal separation in the United States of America. This page will serve as a sister page to that one, as here we delve into the marriage and breakup proportion in the United States, through the years, and the relation between the two over the years. In fact, let us begin with that very aspect of marriage and divorce statistics in America.

The Relationship between Marriage and breakup Statistics in the US

It has been observed time and again that marriage statistics are directly proportional to divorce statistics i.e. the more the number of marriages among the population, the more the number of split-up among married couples is likely to occur. Over the decades, it has been observed that the marriage percentage has slowly and steadily been declining. Let us have a look at this properly:

Decline in the Number of Marriages in the Past Decade

According to findings by the US Census Bureau, the number of marriages in America saw a big drop in 2005, when it was estimated that there were approximately 2,230,000 total marriages taking place, whereas in 2004, there were about 2,279,000 marriages which took place across the country. Now, to put things into perspective, that is a 49,000 difference in just one year! As a result, the separation rate was affected as well. In 2004, the rate was at 7.8 all across the country. It fell to just 7.5 in 2005.

So, the fact that there are lesser marriages, which mean lesser legal split-ups- is that a good thing or a bad thing?

Lesser rate of breakups obviously mean a good thing for the country and for the stability of the families all over America. But the fact that these relatively lower rates are due to lower marriage rates makes the victory slightly bittersweet. What does it say about our society if the only way we found to curb the disturbingly rising trend of broken marriages was by reducing the number of marriages, making the whole point moot. Or is it really moot?

Think about it. Times are changing and with it, lifestyles of people as well. In particular, the lifestyles of couples. We see couples opt for steady, live in relationships, and end up living with each other for years without taking the ultimate big leap. Nowadays, a wedding means one of two things- either an enormous budget or getting into a number of legal hassles. In order to avoid both of these issues altogether, couples tend to forgo marriages altogether.

If one avoids marriages, then they also automatically avoid legal termination of marriage, which come with their own set of unique problems. Divorce usually means finances splurged in court or out of court settlements, alimony, child custody cases et cetera. It may be hard to believe but some folks do not tie the knot for they are afraid of the consequences of a fallout and the subsequent drain on financial resources (a nightmare in this economy).

Of course, it isn’t just for materialistic purposes that a couple do not go for marriages. Some of them simply do not believe in the concept of marriage, or tend to find it too outdated. Homosexual couples are not even allowed to legally wed in the majority of the fifty states. It is an amalgam of all of these reasons why marriages, and in turn, split-ups, are at an all time low.

Multiple Marriages and Divorces

As we saw on the other page, each successive marriage by a single individual to a different person ends up being more and more vulnerable to legal separation. Here are some statistics calculated by the Enrichment Journal, on the breakup rate for multiple marriage in the United States:

  • First Marriage- 41%
  • Second Marriage- 60%
  • Third Marriage- 73%

Jennifer Baker, a researcher for the Forest Institute of Professional Psychology in Springfield, Missouri, calculated the following stats:

  • First Marriage- 50%
  • Second Marriage- 67%
  • Third Marriage- 73%

Duration of Marriage Statistics:

The US Census Bureau, in 2002, following divorce statistics by reason discovered, when it came to the duration of weddings:

  • Marriages which reached their 5th Anniversaries- 82%
  • Marriages which reached their 10th Anniversaries- 65%
  • Marriages which reached their 15th Anniversaries- 52%

The Enrichment Journal had the following percentages to give:

  • Marriages which reached their 25th Anniversaries- 33%
  • Marriages which reached their 35th Anniversaries- 20%
  • Marriages which reached their 50th Anniversaries- 5%

Note: Reaching a milestone year like the 50th wedding anniversary depends not only on the compatibility of the wedded couple, but also each of their lifespans. Hence the lower rates for the longer periods of marriage are not only affected by divorce rates but also mortality rates of each of the married individuals.

So those were all the prominent marriage and divorce statistics in the United States of America. While it is a relief to see a drop in no fault divorce statistics, one has to wonder how much it really means anything considering the drastic drop in the marriage rate across all the fifty states.

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