Knowing somebody’s age gives you few clues about that person’s personality or past, but it may help you predict whether or not the person has ever been divorced. That is the conclusion of a study that used data about Minnesotans.
Researchers at Business Insider examined data from the Minnesota Population Center’s Integrated Public Microdata Sample project, looking at peoples’ marital status in 2013. The author of the resulting article sorted the subjects into four marital categories: divorced, separated or in subsequent marriage; in their first marriage; never married; and widowed.
When examined by age, the number of people divorced or remarried forms a fairly symmetrical curve, peaking at age 59. Forty-two percent of Minnesotans aged 59 had been divorced at least once, just slightly less than the 43 percent of people of that age who were still with their first spouse. From there, the rate of divorce gradually descends until age 95, the upper limit of the study.
When compared to rates of divorce, separation and remarriage by age in previous surveys, the 2013 peaks later than in the past. In 1980, the highest rate of divorce was among people around age 40, and in 1960 the peak came around age 48. This seems to jibe with the perception that older people are getting divorced more often than in the past.
Getting a divorce in middle age or beyond is likely to look quite different than a divorce between people in their 20s, 30s or 40s. It is less likely that child support or custody will be involved. On the other hand, if the couple has been married for 30 years or more, they may have amassed substantial assets that need to be valued and divided equitably.