Young Americans less likely to divorce, older Americans at least twice as likely to split

For US couples over 50, divorce rates have doubled in the last 20 years.Pixabay

The divorce rate in the US has doubled for couples aged over 50, and tripled for those over 65, according to new research.

A study by Pew Research suggests that divorce is increasingly uncommon for young adults, while for those over 50, it is on the rise.

'At a time when divorce is becoming less common for younger adults, so-called 'gray divorce' is on the rise,' the report said.

Divorce in adults over 50 has roughly doubled since the 1990s.

In 1990, five in 1000 married persons over 50 would divorce, in 2015 the figure was 10 in 1000. For those over 65, the figure tripled in the 20 year period.

Conversely, for those aged 25-39 the divorce rate dropped by 21 per cent in the same period.

The report suggests that a reason for the increased divorce rate is the ageing of the Baby Boomer generation, who (aged 51-69 in 2015) now dominate the age group. Baby Boomers underwent unprecedented divorce levels as young adults. Many subsequently remarried, but the rate of divorce for those remarried, over 50, is twice that of those only married once.

Those that have been married longer are less likely to divorce: with those married for 40 or more years, only 4 in 1000 divorced. For those married for nine years or less, 21 divorced. Cited reasons for divorce amongst older generations included dissatisfaction is marriage and a desire for independence and new opportunities.

A February report by Pew said that 'love' was still the average American's highest rated reason for marriage, with 'making a lifelong commitment' being the second most common reason.

Pew also reported that the percentage of Americans married is now at its lowest since at least 1920, and that while marriage is in decline, remarriage is more likely among those that do marry.