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New Research May Show How Long Your Marriage Will Last

leehaywood, Flickr

If you’ve recently tied the knot for the first time, here’s a bit of a buzzkill: according to new research about first marriages from the CDC, you only have about a 50 percent chance of staying married long enough to celebrate your 20th wedding anniversary.

The study took findings from a national survey of women and men ages 15-44 conducted between 2006 and 2010, and compared them to survey data collected in 1982, 1995, and 2002.

Overall, it found that while people are marrying for the first time at older ages, about half of first marriages still end in divorce. But the more education you have, the less likely it is your marriage will fail.

Here are some specifics:

  • In the latest survey, the median age for people marrying the first time was around 26 for women and 28 for men
  • Nine out of 10 women and 8 out of 10 men have been married at least once by the time they’re 40
  • More than half of African-American women reported having never been married, followed by 49 percent of U.S.-born Hispanic women, 39 percent of Asian women, and 34 percent of white women
  • Foreign-born Hispanic men had a 70 percent probability of a first marriage lasting two decades, compared to only 54 percent of white men and 53 percent of African-American men
  • Women with college degrees are more likely to delay first marriages, but once they take the plunge, their marriages have a 78 percent probability of lasting at least 20 years, compared to a 41 percent probability for women who have only a high school diploma


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