Age Matters in Marriage Success

May 25, 2001

ATLANTA — Teenage brides are far more likely than older women to see their marriages break up within 10 years, a U.S. government study shows.

Nearly half of marriages in which the bride is 18 years old or younger end in separation or divorce within 10 years, the National Center for Health Statistics said. For brides 25 and older, one-quarter of marriages break up in that time.

“We expected the age difference we found, but we were surprised at the size of it,” said Matthew Bramlett, a statistician for the centre.
The study also underlined what society has long known — that marriages are much less likely to last today than they were a generation ago.

One in three marriages fails before the 10-year mark, the centre reported. In 1973 — the last time the government conducted a similar study — just one in five failed within that time.

The study was based on interviews with more than 10,000 women conducted in 1995. Bramlett said staff shortages and budget constraints accounted for the delay in reporting the statistics.
The study found that nearly 40 per cent of second marriages for women end in separation or divorce within 10 years, up from 29 per cent in 1973.

The centre is planning a similar study examining marriage from the men’s point of view.

Overall, the study found that 43 per cent of all first marriages end in divorce or separation within 15 years — in line with most previous statistics. One in five lasts less than five years.







Ottawa Men's Centre