Why do you think people get divorced? If you’re like a lot of people, your immediate answers will probably have to do with infidelity (cheating), money problems, and emotional issues – of course these are all valid contributors to divorce in the United States.
If you ask any young engaged couple who long they think their marriage will last, they’ll probably say, “Until we die,” but little do they know they have about a 50 percent chance of making it to their 20th wedding anniversary.
Not surprisingly, the American Psychological Association reports that up to 50 percent of marriages end in divorce. The risk of divorce is even higher for second and subsequent marriages.
According to the Clark University Poll of Emerging Adults, of more than 1,000 18 and 19-year-olds surveyed, 86 percent of them expected their marriages to last. However, the participants who didn’t feel that way, had no plans on marrying ever.
While we can certainly empathize with these young optimists, unfortunately, many experts agree that they’re only kidding themselves. According to data from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), the chance of being married for 20 years is 52 percent for women and 56 percent for men.
As a result of the various marriage studies, experts have concluded that the rate of divorce is somewhere between 40 and 50 percent in the United States. For years, psychologists have been trying to figure out why so many marriages end in divorce.
Now, thanks to studies conducted over long periods of time, the causes of divorce are finally becoming more clear.
“Today, we have a pretty good idea of what’s likely to make for a good marriage,” said Arthur Aron, PhD, a researcher at Stony Brook University.
What We Learned About Divorce
So, what do we know about divorce in the United States? Here is some of what we’ve learned:
- Foreign-born Hispanic men and Asian women have the highest chance of a marriage lasting 20 or more years (70 percent), according to the NCHS.
- Black women are the least likely to have a marriage last 20 years (37 percent) reports the NCHS.
- For white and black men, the chance of reaching the 20-year benchmark is 50 percent, according to the NCHS.
- According to a 2009 report from the University of Virginia’s National Marriage Project, finances play a role. A couple with no assets are 70 percent more likely to divorce by their third anniversary compared to couples with $10,000 in assets.
In addition to the above, research has found that marrying at a young age, and having less education are two major contributing factors that lead to divorce. Couples who are college-educated and marry later in life are less likely to divorce than high school graduates who marry young.
So, if you don’t have a college degree and you married in your late teens or early twenties, the odds were stacked against you from the start.
To learn more about the causes of divorce, check out what the American Psychological Association has to say on the subject by clicking here.