Many changes in the last half century have affected marriage and divorce rates. The rise of the women’s liberation movement, the advent of the sexual revolution, and an increase in women’s labor force participation altered perceptions of gender roles within marriage during the last 50 years. Cultural norms changed in ways that decreased the aversion to being single and increased the probability of cohabitation.1 In addition, a decrease in the stigma attached to divorce and the appearance of no-fault divorce laws in many states contributed to an increase in divorce rates.
Using the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 (NLSY79)—a survey of people born during the 1957–1964 period—this study examines the marriage and divorce patterns for a cohort of young baby boomers up to age 46. In particular, the study focuses on differences in marriage and divorce patterns by educational attainment and by age at marriage. This work is descriptive and does not attempt to explain causation or why marriage patterns differ across groups.
Read data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.