December 31, 2014 By Paul Wallin
Divorce Rates Infographic
New study reveals declining divorce rates

New statistics reveal that more recent American marriages are lasting and not ending in divorce. The change in American lifestyles is explained by three factors:

  • Fewer couples are getting married;
  • More couples are waiting until they are older to get married; and
  • There has been a gradual decline in the divorce rate since the early 1980s.1

Hopefully, the trend will result in more stable partnerships, better-parented children, and economic security for both spouses.

Despite these statistics, “gray divorce,” which occurs among older couples who have been together for many years, remains on the rise.2

What Do the Numbers Show?

The study was performed by The New York Times’ new politics and policy website, The Upshot. The statistics showed that the divorce rate peaked at 5.3 divorces per 1,000 people in 1981. The number fell to 4.7 in 1990 and 3.6 in 2011. About 70% of marriages that began in the 1990s reached their 15th anniversary, excluding those in which a spouse died. 65% of marriages that began in the 1970s and 1980s reached such an anniversary. Couples who married in the 2000s are divorcing at even lower rates. If the decline continues, soon almost two-thirds of marriages will be unlikely to end in divorce.

The study containing the data on “gray divorce” was contained in a March 2013 report by sociologists at Bowling Green State University. It showed that since 1990, the divorce rate for Americans over the age of 50 has doubled. The divorce rate for those over the age of 65 has more than doubled. 1 out of every 4 people experiencing a divorce in the U.S. is 50 or older. Nearly 1 in 10 is 65 or older.3

How Does Education Factor Into the Decline?

The decline in the divorce rate for younger couples is confined to individuals who went to college. Individuals without a college education are more likely to get divorced.

Of couples who received a college education and married in the early 2000s, 11% had divorced by their seventh anniversary. Of those without college degrees, 17% had divorced. Researchers speculate that many men without a college education never marry. Other men find the quality of their marriage eroding during tough economic times and subsequently get divorced.

Call the Divorce Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich

You are an individual, not a statistic. If you want to get divorced or your spouse has served you with papers, call a skilled divorce attorney right away. Our attorneys are here to help you. We can advise you as to how to create the arrangement that works best for you. Our attorneys have successfully handled divorce cases for over 30 years. We can help you today.

We have offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Tustin, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville. Our divorce attorneys can help you no matter where you work or live.

Call us today at (888) 749-7428 for a free phone consultation. We will be here when you call.


2. Till Death Do Us Part? No way. Gray Divorce on the Rise. The Washington Post, 10/08/14. See:

3. The Gray Divorce Revolution: Rising Divorce Among Middle-aged and Older Adults, 1990-2010. Bowling Green State University study, March 2013. See:

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