Saturday, May 20, 2017

The Early Years of Marriage are the Peak Years for Divorce

Have you ever been curious about what years of marriage people are most likely to get divorced? The answer (at least for the U.S.) has long been that the peak years for divorce are in the first five years of marriage. While a lot of divorce happens later in life, I am focusing here on how, for any given year of marriage, divorce is most likely to occur in the early ones. In contrast, the median years until divorce for those divorcing has long been something more like 7 or 8, but that’s a different statistic, representing the fact that of all divorces, about half are likely to occur before 7 or 8 years into marriage and about half are likely to occur after. I have not seen an update on that point for some time but I am also not closely tracking publications on that subject. 

This week, I asked Nick Wolfinger (@NickWolfinger) about recent trends on this long-established finding and he cranked out some analysis using a strong data set for addressing this question (NSFG). While these are not new findings from a recently published paper, they are current and they confirm what has long been understood among researchers. [There may be evidence of peak years for divorcing being a little later into marriage in another large data set but I think Wolfinger's estimates are sound and they are consistent with what I've seen over many years.]

Since many people are curious about this subject, I thought I’d post his tweets. 

Nick followed up his first post on this with a few nuances. I cannot make the charts format quite right when accessing twitter but you’ll get the point.

There you have it. A little update via tweeter posts about how the early years of marriage are the peak years for divorce.