“Gray divorce” is a phrase which represents older couples who embark upon divorce, and it’s become a term used more widely as it has become a more widely used option by such couples. More specifically, gray divorce refers to individuals over the age of 50, who are in their first marriage, or a very long-term marriage. Here are some facts, stats and numbers on gray divorce which may be surprising to learn.
25 percent: Of all people being divorced in the United States, 25 percent of them are over the age of 50. Clearly, gray divorce is on the rise. Exactly how much is it on the rise?
Gray Divorce Has Doubled: Since 1990, the divorce rate for couples who are both over the age of 50 has doubled. And 50 years old isn’t even the only demarcation point of interest either.
65 years old: 10 percent of all individuals being divorced in the United States are 65 years or older. For people who were surprised by the 25 percent rate at age 50, this is likely even a greater surprise. The divorce rate here has more than doubled since 1990.
Half: Half of all gray divorces are from first marriages. As acknowledged above, this is not a de facto “requirement” to be considered a gray divorce, as long-term marriages also apply, but half do fall into the first marriage department.
55 percent: This is the number of gray divorces which are from couples married for longer than 20 years. There’s no exact or hard limit on what constitutes a “long-term” marriage, but it is interesting to note what a high percentage qualify at two decades or longer. Of course, this statistic and the one above on first marriage are not mutually exclusive.
There are many reasons, or theories, on why this type of divorce is increasing, and doing so rapidly. Everything from life expectancies on the rise, to greater opportunities and independence for women, to new thinking on happiness and happy marriages may contribute, among a range of additional factors.
If anything, looking at the latest trends, facts, and information helps to shed light on the subject. For someone who may find themselves in a similar situation, it may also help them to normalize the subject for themselves, or reinforce their beliefs, knowing that others are going through the same things. Of course, anyone considering a divorce should consult with a qualified attorney in your local area who will be able to provide you with more information on the best course of action for someone in your particular circumstances.