Divorce Facts - Part 1 Divorce rate

Given Cathy’s latest interview on 'Regrets after Divorce' was based on statistics generated from a recent survey, we thought we’d share with you the latest divorce figures in a mini-series of four articles.

The most recently available statistics from the Office for National Statistics were published December 2012. These estimate that 42% of marriages in England and Wales end in divorce. In the USA, they don’t collect the exact data, but they think it’s between 40-50%, and this follows a general pattern for many of the ‘western’ nations.

Dig deeper into the figures and there are some interesting facts.  So we’ll share these in an occasional series of articles.

It is also estimated that:

    •    34% of marriages are expected to end in divorce by the 20th wedding anniversary.

    •    An additional 6% of marriages are expected to end by the 20th wedding anniversary because one of the spouses has died.

    •    Therefore 60% of marriages are expected to survive to the 20th anniversary.

    •    16% of marriages reach the 60th wedding anniversary.

    •    The average marriage is expected to last for 32 years.

So while the media headlines often shout out how divorces is now the expectation for all couples who marry, any couple can commit secure in the knowledge that a long-lasting marriage is still a realistic expectation.  

The graph below shows the percentage of marriages ending in divorce or because one partner has died, by each wedding anniversary.

Percentage of Marriages ending in Divorce

Percentage of marriages ending in divorce or because one spouse has died, 2010, England and Wales

The percentage of marriages ending in divorce increases more rapidly in the first 10 years of marriage than the 10 years after that. Once the 20th wedding anniversary is reached, the percentage increases less rapidly.

Conversely, the percentage of marriages that end because one spouse has died increases less rapidly in the first 40 years of marriage than the 10 years after that. This is because people are more likely to die at older ages, so mortality has a bigger impact on those who have been married for a long time.

However, while 42% of all marriages are estimated to end eventually in divorce, other factors are likely to influence the likelihood of divorce for individuals, including:

    •    length of marriage

    •    year of marriage

    •    age at marriage

    •    whether married before

Makes sense to us.

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