|Thursday May 24 11:10 PM ET
Do 43% of first marriages end in separation or divorce within 15 years? Marriage for Life Becoming Less Likely.
By Emma Patten-Hitt, PhD
ATLANTA (Reuter Health) - The marriage knot is more likely to unravel these days. Forty-three percent of first marriages end in separation or divorce within 15 years, and all marriages are more likely to end in divorce than two decades ago, according to a report released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (news - web sites) (CDC).
The findings are based on a survey of nearly 11,000 women aged 15 to 44 who responded to a 1995 survey, an update of a similar study conducted in the early 1970s.
According to the report, people were much more likely to stay married 30 years ago. Back then, the probability of separation or divorce after 10 years in a first marriage was 20%, but in 1995 that number had risen to 33%. The report also indicates that one in three first marriages now end within 10 years and one in five ends within 5 years.
Second marriages are even less likely to survive than a first marriage. The probability of separation or divorce for a second marriage after 10 years 30 years ago was 29%, but in 1995 it had risen to 39%.
The study also showed that duration of marriage is linked to a woman's age at first marriage; the older a woman is at first marriage, the longer that marriage is likely to last. According to the report, 59% of marriages to brides under 18 currently end in separation or divorce within 15 years, compared with 36% of those married at age 20 or older.
``We were really surprised at the magnitude of the difference between the youngest and oldest brides,'' Dr. Matt Bramlett of the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics told Reuter Health.
``We don't really have any analysis about what caused these figures to increase,'' Bramlett said with regard to the jump in divorce rates from the early 1970s. ``We just know that they have increased. We will be interviewing women again in 2002 and we will have data in the middle of 2003.''
``These data offer an important glimpse into the social fabric of this country,'' states Dr. Edward Sondik, director of CDC's National Center for Health Statistics. ``The implications of divorce cut across a number of societal issues, socioeconomics, health, and the welfare of our children.''