Age gaps increase the chance of divorce

Divorce|November 10th 2014

Married couples who are closer to each other in age are less likely to divorce, newly published data suggests.

Scientist Randal Olson analysed data from an earlier study by Emory University researchers Andrew Francis and Hugo Mialon. This polled 3,000 married couples in the US, examining the relationship between the amount of money spent on a wedding and its likelihood of success. They also considered other factors which could predict divorce, such as income, religion and physical attractiveness.

Olson subjected the data to further examination, producing a series of charts to highlight key findings, such as a reported link between the ages of each partner and the likelihood of divorce.

According to his analysis, even a single year’s gap in ages increases the likelihood of divorce by three per cent, when compared to couples of equal age. This percentage increases to no less than 18 per cent when the difference between the married couple’s ages was just five years.

And as the gap increases, so does the likelihood of divorce. Couples separated by ten years are 39 per cent more likely to split up than those of equal age, while those separated by 20 years are no less than 95 per cent more likely to divorce.

In addition to marrying someone of a similar age, an additional protective factor can be provided by having children together, the findings reveal. Couples who have children either in and out of wedlock are 76 per cent and 59 per cent respectively less likely to separate, Olson’s report claims.

To read the analyses in full, click here.

Photo by Nick Nguyen via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence

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Comment(1)

  1. Luke says:

    “In addition to marrying someone of a similar age, an additional protective factor can be provided by having children together, the findings reveal. Couples who have children either in and out of wedlock are 76 per cent and 59 per cent respectively less likely to separate, Olson’s report claims.”
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    This doesn’t surprise me, I’ve known more than one work colleague willing to constantly appease his wife and live in misery with her in order to stay in the house and remain a full presence in their children’s lives.
    I am guessing that a number of women put up with husbands they would rather not remain married to in order to retain the family unit for their children – although I suspect there are fewer than in the aforementioned scenario because they know it is extremely likely that they will get residency.

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