Study: Chance of Marriages Lasting Getting Slimmer

Marriages don't last as long as they used to.

More than half of American couples who married in the late 1970s never made it to their 25th wedding anniversary, revealed the latest survey by the Census Bureau.

It's the first time at least since World War II that married people had a less than even chance of still being married 25 years later, according to The New York Times.

The majority of men (70 percent) who married between 1955 and 1959 remained married 25 years later. And 61 percent of them were still married by their 40th anniversary.

Recent marriages for women were also more likely to end in divorce than marriages during the peak of the baby boom. About 79 percent of first marriages for women in the late 1950s marked their 15th anniversary compared to only 57 percent for women who married for the first time from 1985 to 1989.

The Census Bureau surveyed about 44,000 households over several years in its latest report "Marriage and Divorce: 2004."

While 74.4 percent of men who married since 1970 stayed married for 10 years, only 46.2 percent were still married after 30 years. Among women, 71.6 percent remained married after 10 years and only 42.1 percent were still together after 30 years.

Experts say divorce remains a threat even after passing the first decade mark.

"Lots of divorces are occurring after the first decade of marriage. It's not the case that if you make it through the first 10 years, your marriage is divorce-proof," said Andrew Cherlin, a sociology professor at Johns Hopkins University, according to USA Today.

On average, first marriages that end in divorce last about eight years.

The study also confirmed that while most Americans marry, they're tying the knot later. In 1996, about 69 percent of married men and 76 percent of married women age 15 and older had married only once. In 2004, the numbers dropped to 54 percent of men and 58 percent of women who walked down the aisle once.

Other survey highlights showed that among adults 25 and older who had ever divorced, 52 percent of men and 44 percent of women were currently married; in 2004, 12 percent of men and 13 percent of women had married twice; the median time between divorce and a second marriage was about three and a half years.

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