Finally, older divorce may be more common than any other time in history for a simple reason: People are living longer, says Brown. If you survive to age 65, you may live another 20 years, which is a long time to spend with someone you're no longer happy with, she says. “You might want to call it quits.”
Furthering the research into the gray divorce rate, according to an April 2021 report released by the U.S. Census Department, 34.9% of all Americans who got divorced in the previous calendar year, were aged 55 or older. That's more than twice the rate of any other age group surveyed.
However, the 15-24 year old age range has the highest divorce rate of any age group. The second-highest rate of divorce takes place in people ages 25-34, but it's declining there, as well: down from 33.3 per 1,000 in 1990 to 23 per 1,000 in 2017. The rate among 35-to-44-year-olds has remained fairly stable.
Divorce after retirement
The latest data released in 2021 from the U.S. Census Bureau found that while the overall divorce rate in America currently hovers at around 34 percent, the percentage of adults who divorce between the ages of 55 and 64 is statistically highest, at 43 percent.
Every couple divorces for their own reasons and that is certainly true of gray divorces. One theory as to why so many Baby Boomers are getting divorced is that their children, now in their 20s and 30s, are finally becoming financially independent, thus giving their parents the freedom to choose divorce.
Older couples face unique aging-related issues that can factor into the decision to divorce -- including health concerns, tensions brought on by living in closer proximity in retirement, losing parents and friends, and even the unsettling loss of youth.
Among people in their 70s, a 2015 study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior found 33% of sexually active men and 36% of sexually active women had sex at least twice a month. For people in their 80s, 19% of sexually active men and 32% of sexually active women had sex at least twice a month.
Abuse. The most serious reason to consider divorce is any persistent pattern of spousal abuse. This certainly encompasses physical abuse, which can place one spouse's life in immediate danger. However, patterns of verbal or financial abuse can also be corrosive and are very valid grounds to leave the marriage.
Studies suggest that 20 percent of marriages end within the first five years and that this number increased by 12 percent within 10 years. But between 10 years and 15 years, the rate only increases about 8 percent, implying that one of the safest stages of your marriage is between years 10 and 15.
"For a woman over 65", adds Arber, "there is a 10,000 to one chance of marriage and for a man the odds fall to a thousand to one." And she adds, in her research, some widows and divorcees wouldn't want the odds any other way.
The average length of a marriage in the US is 8.2 years.
Whilst the national average marriage length is just over eight years, couples in New York typically have the longest-lasting unions. The typical marriage in the Empire State lasts for 12.2 years, which is significantly higher than the national average.
Grey divorce or silver splitter, is a term referring to the demographic trend of an increasing divorce rate for older ("grey-haired") couples in long-lasting marriages.
"If you're no longer spending any time together, if one or both partners is spending all their time at work, with friends, online — and if feels like a relief not to be with each other — it's a sign that you've already disengaged from the marriage." You don't support or listen to each other.
According to relationship therapist Aimee Hartstein, LCSW, as it turns out, the first year really is the hardest—even if you've already lived together. In fact, it often doesn't matter if you've been together for multiple years, the start of married life is still tricky.
What percentage of sexless marriages end in divorce? It's not known what percentage of sexless marriages end in divorce, but if the rate is in keeping with the overall divorce rate in America, it would be about 50 percent. Chances are that the percentage of sexless marriages ending in divorce is even higher.
The reasons for marital sexual dysfunction are many. Some midlife couples realize they were never sexually compatible to begin with. Some experienced a rich sex life in the early years, but other factors, such as aging, health problems, career and child-rearing pressures, leeched the eroticism out of the relationship.
And although you may have to give up to half of the assets you saved as a couple, you buy time to catch up with your own dedicated retirement savings plans. Finally, divorcing your spouse before tapping shared retirement accounts gives you more control over how those funds are spent or invested.
While the U.S. divorce rate may be at a 50-year low, divorce is much more common among those who are 55 and older. According to the most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau, divorce rates were highest (about 43%) among both sexes, aged 55 to 64.
The youngest and oldest Americans are the most likely to be single – 41% of those ages 18 to 29 and 36% of those 65 and older say they are single, compared with 23% of those 30 to 49 and 28% of those 50 to 64. These age differences bely huge differences by gender.
North Dakota had the lowest divorce rate, with less than 9 marriages per 1,000 ending in divorce.
Young adults' desire to marry has greatly dwindled over the years as factors like fear of commitment, inflation and high divorce rates have taken a toll on younger generations. A majority of millennials — those born from 1981 to 1996 — aren't tying the knot at the same rate as previous generations.