We've all heard that 50 percent of marriages in the U.S. end in divorce.
And while that disheartening stat continues to get tossed around, the divorce rate isn't really at 50 percent -- and it isn't rising either. In fact, a new piece in the New York Times' data blog Upshot suggests that the divorce rate has actually been dropping for some time now. Looking at the numbers, the Times suggests the high divorce rate of the late 1970s and early 1980s may have just been a "historical anomaly," rather than a trend.
Below, a few of the most interesting tidbits from the Times:
- About 70 percent of marriages that began in the 1990s reached their 15th anniversary, up from roughly 65 percent of those that began in the 1970s and 1980s. And couples who wed in the 2000s are divorcing at even lower rates.
- The feminist movement of the 1970s played a considerable role in where the divorce rate is now, according to economists Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfer. As women entered the work force and gained reproductive rights, marriage began to evolve into its "modern-day form, based on love and shared passions, and often two incomes and shared housekeeping duties."
- The fact that people are marrying later in life, resulting in more mature marriages, has helped matters, too. The median age for marriage in the 1950s was 23 for men and 20 for women. In 2004, it rose to 27 for men and 26 for women.
- If numbers continue to go down, roughly two-thirds of marriages will never involve divorce, according to data from Wolfers.
For more on why the divorce rate is on the decline, including an infographic illustrating the dip, head over to The New York Times.