August 1, 2021

Number, Timing and Duration of Marriages and Divorces

The U.S. Census Bureau today released the Number, Timing and Duration of Marriages and Divorces: 2016 report. The report uses data from the 2016 American Community Survey (ACS) 1-year estimates, 2014 Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) Wave 1, and 2014 Social Security Administration Supplement to provide a uniquely comprehensive look at marital patterns in the United States.

Sex

  • A higher proportion of men than women were never married but both sexes experienced an increase in the proportion never married across age groups from 2006 to 2016.
  • Women who divorced in the previous 12 months were more likely than recently divorced men to be in poverty (20% compared with 11%, respectively).
  • Among all currently married adults in 2016, 76% of men and 77% of women were in their first marriage.
  • Among same-sex married couples in 2016, 82% of men and 75% women were in their first marriage.
  • By 2014, over half of both men and women in their first marriage (who married between 1970 and 1984) had at least reached their 25th anniversary. 

Age

  • Between 2008 and 2016, the median age at first marriage rose approximately two full years to 30 for men and 28 for women.
  • Among ever-married adults 20 years and over, 34% of women and 33% of men had ever been divorced; the percentage ever-divorced was highest (about 43%) for adults of both sexes ages 55 to 64.
  • Among ever-married adults 20 years and over, 14% of women had ever been widowed, compared with 6% of men. Yet, among people 75 years and over, 58% of women and 28% of men had ever been widowed.

Race and Hispanic Origin

  • Among race and Hispanic origin groups, ever-married Asian women and men had the lowest proportion ever-divorced (14% and 11%, respectively).
  • Among currently married women in their first marriage in 2016, 10% were in an interracial/interethnic marriage and 8% were in a mixed-nativity marriage (one spouse was foreign-born and the other was native-born).