Even though the overall divorce rate in the United States has been on the decline, the number of seniors getting divorced has risen significantly in recent years, according to the results of a new study.
Researchers at Bowling Green University’s National Center for Family and Marriage Research recently reported that out of every 1,000 married people between the ages of 50 and 64, about 6.9 of them got divorced in 1990. By 2009, that number had increased 12.6. During those same years, the average divorce rate across all marriages decreased from just under 19 to just under 18 per 1,000. The researchers also stated that they expect the level of senior divorces to continue to rise by at least an additional 25%.
The study did not point to any one factor as a likely cause of the increase in divorce rate. However, the baby boomer generation is currently retiring, or reaching retirement age, at the rate of about 10,000 people per day. Previous research has shown that lengthening lifespans, as well as the increased ability for women to be financially independent, has contributed to rises in divorce rates amongst baby boomers.
For baby boomers who have spent their lives working, the sudden shift into retirement is often a stressful one that can cause a disruption in the marital relationship. This is true for both spouses who have worked their entire lives and who suddenly stop, as well as for spouses who have not been used to spending all day around one another.