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Do half of married couples really get divorced?

We have heard for years that about 50 percent of marriages in Minnesota and across the U.S. end in divorce. The New York Times reports that the media still bandies about this figure when reporting on celebrity divorces and other issues.

But is it really true? No, says The Times. And it has been a myth for years.

The fact is, the U.S. divorce rate peaked between the 1970s and early ‘80s, and has been going down ever since. While couples who married in those decades reached their 15th anniversary or suffered the death of a spouse 65 percent of the time, couples married in the 1990s got to their 15th year of wedded bliss 70 percent of the time.

So far, newer marriages seem to be even stronger. An economist predicted that, if current trends continue, just over one in three marriages that began in the 2000s will end in divorce.

Whether this trend bodes well for your marriage may depend on your socio-economic status. Most of the divorce decline is concentrated among people with college degrees. College-educated couples who married in the early 2000s stayed married at least seven years 89 percent of the time; meanwhile, 17 percent of people without a college diploma who married in that time later got divorced.

It remains to be seen if peoples’ marriages from the ‘90s and 2000s indeed will prove more durable than those of their parents’ generation. But it will certainly be true that some people will have to end their relationships, and so family law will remain an important service.

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