Divorce in Middle and Later Life: New Estimates from the 2008 American Community Survey

Susan L. Brown, Bowling Green State University
I-Fen Lin, Bowling Green State University

The U.S. has the highest divorce rate in the world, with upwards of 45% of marriages expected to end through divorce. Nonetheless, the research to date has largely ignored the divorce experiences of older adults. We use data from the 2008 American Community Survey to examine the incidence of divorce among middle aged and older adults (ages 50+) in the U.S. today. We also consider how this rate has changed over time by drawing on U.S. Vital Statistics data. Our preliminary analyses indicate that the rate of divorce has doubled among those 50 and older since 1990. This paper will document variation in divorce after age 50 by gender, race/ethnicity, education, marriage order, the presence of children, and other relevant demographic factors available in the ACS data. It will provide important new information on the divorce rate for older adults, the fastest growing age group in the U.S.

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Presented in Poster Session 2