The Baby Boomer Divorce Trend
I recently read an article that the divorce rate was on a slight decline from the generally accepted 50 percent rate. Although it is difficult to obtain completely accurate divorce statistics, as a divorce lawyer, I was interested to search deeper into the topic. While I struggled to find credible sources to confirm the precise national divorce rate, I found a commonality among all studies regarding divorce trends: baby boomers have the highest, and still growing, divorce rates among all age groups in the nation.
Divorce trends among baby boomers
Until the 1970’s, no particular age group dominated the divorce world. However, starting in the 80’s, the divorce rate among young couples in their twenties and thirties began to increase. Now, in recent years, while the divorce rate among young couples has returned to less steep levels, the divorce rate among couples in their fifties and sixties has been on the rise. This means that same generation, the baby boomers, has a tendency for soaring divorce rates. I have noticed this trend in my own practice as a Chicago divorce lawyer and have many clients in their fifties, sixties and even seventies.
Why do the baby boomers have a high divorce rate?
Baby boomers, the 79 million Americans born from 1945-1964, are known for rejecting and redefining traditional values. Based on that, it is hardly surprising that baby boomers would have a higher divorce rate than the preceding generations. As a more liberal generation, they often questioned the typical gender roles. As more job opportunities became available for women, the definition of a household, and therefore marriage, was altered. Considering the more open-minded viewpoints of the baby boomers, they were more willing to escape an unhappy marriage through divorce than their own parents may have been. Additionally, since they grew up in the flourishing post-war economy, while previous generations may have stayed in a marriage for economic reasons, this is not as much on the forefront of baby boomers’ minds.
Will younger generations follow in the baby boomers’ footsteps?
If baby boomers’ liberalness make them more prone to divorce than their past generations, does that imply the even more liberal younger generations will also have skyrocketing divorce rates? Most experts speculate that the answer to this question is no. The following are a few of the reasons for this belief.
- Marrying at older ages: Many young people do not feel the need to settle down into marriage until older ages. If not as many young people are married, there can’t be as many divorces among them.
- Longer pre-marriage relationships: Now, many couples stay in relationships for extended periods of time before marriage. Previously, couples often did not cohabitate until marriage. With the increased length of relationships and trend of non-married couples living together, circumstances that previously would have ended a marriage now instead end a long-term relationship.
- Past experiences: Due to the high rate of baby boomer divorces, many people now approaching the age of marriage have experienced their parents’ divorce. They may not want to cause their own children the trauma they had to endure.
If you have any questions about divorce or divorce trends, please contact me.
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