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Examining the Actual Divorce Rate - 7/1/16

It’s summer, and that means that it’s time for weddings.  Perhaps you remember telling friends when you were getting married, with the most cynical of them reminding you that in America about half of all marriages end in divorce.  Perhaps you responded by telling them that’s false. 

The problem is that that long-quoted statistic may actually understate the probability of divorce.  According to University of Maryland sociology professor Philip Cohen, based on current trends, nearly fifty three percent of all marriages will end in divorce. 

That is shocking given that conventional wisdom suggests that people have become less impulsive about marriage, and that Millennials in particular are thought to be very cautious about tying the knot.  The rate of divorce has been declining in recent years, but that could be misleading. 

As reported by Bloomberg, first marriages that fail last a median of twelve years.  In other words, it’s too soon to tell whether millennial marriages will last.  Baby Boomers are getting divorced in large numbers.  Since nineteen ninety, the divorce rate for fifty five to sixty four years olds has more than doubled, and the rate for people sixty five and older has tripled.   

Anirban Basu, Chariman Chief Executive Officer of Sage Policy Group (SPG), is one of the Mid-Atlantic region's leading economic consultants. Prior to founding SPG he was Chairman and CEO of Optimal Solutions Group, a company he co-founded and which continues to operate. Anirban has also served as Director of Applied Economics and Senior Economist for RESI, where he used his extensive knowledge of the Mid-Atlantic region to support numerous clients in their strategic decision-making processes. Clients have included the Maryland Department of Transportation, St. Paul Companies, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Players Committee and the Martin O'Malley mayoral campaign.