Among all people 15 and older in 2009, 55 percent had been married once, with 30 percent never having been married at all, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report released today. At the same time, 15 percent had married more than once, including 12 percent who had married twice and 3 percent who had married three or more times.
The findings come from Number, Timing, and Duration of Marriages and Divorces: 2009, which uses data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation to provide a look at topics such as changes in the age at marriage, divorce and remarriage over the years, how long first marriages last, people who have been married multiple times, those who have been divorced or experienced other marital events, and the percentage of currently married couples that include spouses who are both in their first marriage.
More than half of currently married couples (55 percent) had been married for at least 15 years, while 35 percent had reached their 25th anniversary. A small percentage — 6 percent — had even passed their golden (50th) wedding anniversary. These percentages are about 1 to 2 percentage points higher than they were in 1996, reflecting both the leveling of divorce rates and increases in life expectancy.
For most couples (72 percent), both spouses were in their first marriage. Six percent of those married included a wife in her second marriage and husband in his first, 8 percent a husband in his second marriage and wife in her first, and 8 percent in which both spouses were in their second marriage. A small percentage of all currently married couples (1 percent) consisted of a husband and wife who had both been married three or more times.
- First marriages that ended in divorce lasted a median of eight years for men and women. The median time from marriage to separation was shorter — about seven years.
- Half of men and women in all the race and Hispanic-origin groups who remarried after divorcing from their first marriage did so within about four years.
- For all groups of women 25 and older, the majority had married, as had the majority of men 30 and older.
- About one in five men and women ages 50 to 69 had married twice.
- Among people 70 and older, 23 percent of men and 51 percent of women had been widowed, and most were still widowed and had not remarried at the time of the survey.
- A higher proportion of the recently married in 2009 were Hispanic than in 1996. While one in 10 recently married adults was Hispanic in 1996, this increased to one in five by 2009.
- A higher proportion of recently married women had at least a bachelor’s degree in 2009 (31 percent) than in 1996 (21 percent).
- Changes in the percentage of women who never married between 1986 and 2009 suggest that a higher percentage of black women than white non-Hispanic women may never marry.