Attitudes on marriage in the United States have changed drastically over the past few decades. Although Americans have eschewed marriage in recent years, causing marriage rates to hit an all-time low and divorce rates to hit a 50-year low, these broad trends don’t reflect what’s happening among older adults in Colorado.
Surprisingly, older adults don’t fit the mold
While it may seem as if older married adults stay together longer than their younger counterparts, this common perception isn’t necessarily true. Research shows that the divorce rate for adults ages 50 and up doubled from 1990 to 2020.
Reasons for this trend
In the late 1960s and 1970s, societies around the world began valuing self-fulfillment and personal happiness more than ever before, contributing to more divorces. Women joining the workforce and gaining more financial independence also contributed to the rise in the divorce rate.
As the average life expectancy of Americans has improved, the country’s share of seniors has increased. Ever-changing views on marriage have substantially reduced the social penalties associated with divorce. Together with an increasing life expectancy, giving seniors more time for things such as pursuing divorce, it’s easy to understand why the divorce rate among older Americans has increased so much.
Gray divorces don’t just affect the United States
Gray divorce, a name given to senior-aged divorce by AARP in 2004, is growing rapidly around the world. More older adults seek divorce the world over, including Australia, Europe, Japan, the United Kingdom and India.
Although some people still believe that older couples should stay together, this attitude may hurt seniors. If older adults in your family or friend group express an interest in divorce, support their decisions. Leaving an unhappy marriage can lead to more personal satisfaction and a higher overall quality of life.