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The 50% divorce myth

If someone ever tells you that 50% of couples get divorced, and you think that sounds far too simple to be true, you’re right. It’s not true, but it is such a common myth that most people have heard it at least once in their lives.

What is the truth? It’s a lot harder to pinpoint. It changes all the time. If someone says that they heard 10 years ago that half of all marriages end in divorce, that statistic — even if it was true — is outdated. Actually, divorce rates are falling, not rising.

The highest some experts have recorded is 41%. There were predictions about hitting 50%, which some people interpreted as reality, but it never happened. Since that high point, the percentage has dropped.

It also depends on age. There is evidence that young people tend to have lower divorce rates, while gray divorce — those over 50 — is on the rise. So, you clearly can’t apply the same statistic to a couple in their 60s and another in their 30s. They’re simply not living the same lives.

Why do young people get divorced less often? Part of it is the increasing age of marriage. They also know more about the process. As a result, some have said that they’re “getting smarter about marriage” and also waiting longer, which increases the odds that the relationship will make it.

Marriage and divorce cannot be summed up in one stat. They’re more complex than that, and so is the process of getting divorced. Those who are interested in doing so need to take the time to really understand all of the options they have.


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