My last post painted a pretty bleak picture. As Greyghost put it:
Well Dalrock for a guy that is blogging for marriage you sure have a knack for finding reasons for MGTOW. This article says I’m in big trouble because I am one responsible dude.
I think it helps to remember that while women like the ones in the original story are shown as representing the norm, thankfully they really don’t. The chart below is the one I shared when investigating if women are done with men after age 55. This covers white women in the US; you can get the same data for all races from the US Census. Data on divorce rates by age bracket per 1,000 married women would be preferable, but this at least gives us something to go on:
Following a noteworthy bump in divorce between early and late 40s, the percentage of women married vs divorced remains surprisingly steady until around age 60, where the death of their husbands (and not divorce) starts steadily lowering the percentage of women who are married. Keep in mind that only 30 out of every 1,000 divorcées aged 45 to 64 remarry in any given year (source, P 148), so the pool of existing divorcées isn’t being siphoned off due to remarriage at a very fast rate. The stabilization of the percentage of divorcées after age 45 therefore suggests a very low divorce rate later in life. This is corroborated by the sampling the AARP found when they did their study on late life divorce. From my previous analysis of the AARP study:
73% of the divorces examined in the study occurred when the respondent was in their 40s. Another 15% of the divorces they studied occurred when the respondent was 50-55. Only 11% occurred when the person answering the survey was over 55.
Part of the skew was likely caused by the nature of the sampling they were doing, but putting all of the data together would seem to suggest that divorce rates drop significantly in the US later in life. At the very least I’ve never come across any data backing the common claim in the media of an explosion in divorce late in life. This also makes intuitive sense. Women’s incentive to divorce would seem much lower later in life given their slim and rapidly declining remarriage prospects, their increasing physical and financial vulnerability, and the fact that if they stay married they are likely to receive over half of the couple’s assets during retirement.
Since the Daily Mail story was about women in the UK, I did some digging for the data on this question there. The data in the chart below is from this report, specifically table 4 in this spreadsheet:
Note that the age brackets expand starting at age 50, so the drop after their late 40s is actually much steeper than the graph would suggest. At some point mortality has to be playing a significant role here, but I don’t think it explains the number of divorces to women in their 50s being less than half that of women in their late 40s. This still doesn’t tell us the number of divorces per 1,000 married women, but it would seem to pour cold water on the media’s hyping of late life divorce in the UK as well.
Note: If you have any links to better data please share them in the comments below.
July 22nd 2011 Update: I found the UK data I was looking for.