There’s different research out there regarding marriage with and without kids and divorce. Some studies have said that childfree marriages are happier, thus more likely to go the distance.  Others have indicated that marriages that include parenthood are more likely to last longer.  Overall though, kids or not, we seem to buy the notion that half of all marriages end in divorce.

A recent article, “Are Marriage Statistics Divorced from Reality?”by Belinda Luscombe discusses this stat as a myth ..

..and fleshes out factors that help predict whether couples will stay together and not.

Age and education seem to be predictors. Tara Parker-Pope, author of For Better, debunks the 50% stats, and indicates that because since the 70s more women have been going to college and delaying marriage “marital stability appears to be improving with each decade.”  Of college grads who wed in the 70s, 23% split within 10 years. Of college grads who wed in the 90s, however, only 16% split within 10 years.

According to the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, in the 80s 81% of college grads who got married at 26 or older were still married 20 years later. 65% of grads who got married before they were 26 were married 20 years later.

Income comes into play too. Studies show that less educated, lower income couples divorce more than college grads and may be doing so in higher numbers. According to Penn State sociologist Paul Amato, “The people who are most likely to get divorced have the least resources to deal with its impact, particularly on children.”

It’s interesting that there’s no mention of kids and their influence on marriages lasting longer or not.  We do know however, that the higher the education, the fewer children a women has. So if marital stability has to do higher education, one could surmise that there will be fewer children involved if any.

Of those couples who stay together, it seems they are more likely to have a college education, marry a bit later, and not be lower income.  Two demographic characteristics relate to childfree folks as well—they tend to have higher education and incomes.

Questions I am left with:

Who tends to get married later—the childfree or those who end up becoming parents?

Where is parenthood (or not) on the predictor list after age, education, and income?

To you: Do you think the 50% stat is a myth? Do you see childfree marriages or marriages with parents as more likely to divorce?

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