Have you heard that statistic that half of all marriages will end in divorce? It’s wrong. Even if that many marriages ever did disintegrate at one point, they don’t now. Divorce is on the decline and has been since the 1980s in America(when that 50% divorce statistic took hold). Experts now put your chances of uncoupling at about 39% in the U.S. This sounds like such promising news. Families are sticking together! But in practice, this does not mean more people are living happily ever after.
The drop in divorce statistics seems to be, in large part, due to the much-maligned Millennials making their marital vows stick far more often. One recent study says that, compared to their 2008 counterparts, young people in 2016 were 18% less likely to get divorced. That study has not been peer-reviewed but is echoed by the trend in the U.K., which keeps much more robust divorce data. Young Brits’ marriages are 27% more likely to make it through their first decade — the prime divorcing years — than those who got hitched in the ’80s.
So have millennials cracked the code on having and holding as long as they both shall live? Not exactly. One reason divorce is less common among that age group is that marriage — and all of its advantages, from survivor benefits for social security to healthier children to a lower chance of heart attack — is becoming more selective. Once considered a starting block for young people, a launchpad to get them underway as they took the plunge, getting married is now more of a high diving board, a platform for publicly demonstrating that they’ve achieved. The people getting all those marital advantages are those with the most advantages to begin with.