It’s a popular joke online that Millennials are “killing” everything: diamonds, department stores, various fast-food restaurants, and so forth. What is less of a joke is the younger generation’s divorce rates. According to new research by University of Maryland, College Park, the children (and grandchildren) of the Baby Boomers may be “killing” divorce, too.
Phillip Cohen, author of “The Coming Divorce Decline,” concludes “it appears certain that – barring unforeseen changes – divorce rates will further decline in the coming years.” Cohen’s research shows that the divorce rate decreased by almost 20% between 2008 and 2016 – a significant percentage.
What is the driving force behind the decrease in divorce rates? Cohen’s research found three contributory factors:
- Millennial-aged couples are waiting longer before getting married. On average, they are older before they have children, too, which may decrease some of the stress typically associated with raising a family.
- Millennial-aged women are completing their college degrees before they get married. In fact, according to the Pew Research Center, “78% of college-educated women who married for the first time between 2006 and 2010 could expect their marriages to last at least 20 years. But among women who have a high school education or less, the share is only 40%.”
- The number of high-order marriages, meaning second or third marriages, is lower. Cohen calls this a “protective characteristic.”
In short, the Millennial and Gen X generations appear to be reversing the trends we have seen from the Boomer generation. As Cohen told HuffPost, “If these young people make it into their 40s without divorcing, their odds of staying together only increase. It looks like the next generations to come up behind the Boomers aren’t going to adopt their divorce-prone ways.”
Why older couples are getting divorced more often
Another report by Pew Research, published in 2017, found that “Among U.S. adults ages 50 and older, the divorce rate has roughly doubled since the 1990s.” The research indicates that because Boomers had higher rates of divorce while they were younger, the number of higher-order marriages is greater – and remarriages are less stable, statistically, than first marriages.
Another reason could simply be longevity: people are living much, much longer. They have more time to become financially stable, which might lull them into a false sense of security. Add these factors to the “reduced stigma of divorce, both in terms of religion and society’s attitudes,” and divorce no longer seems like a worst-case scenario.
No matter what age you are, or how long you have been married, you will need competent legal guidance if you and your spouse choose to divorce. Couples who have had time to acquire substantial assets may have a more challenging separation ahead of them. At Miller Upshaw Family Law, PLLC, we work to ensure that your goals and needs are met, and to find a resolution that works best for you. To speak with an experienced Nashville divorce lawyer, please call 615.454.9899, or use our contact form to reserve a consultation.