Rhode Island residents from the baby boomer generation will be interested to learn that the rate of divorce is on the rise for couples over 50. In 2009, one in four people who divorced were age 50 or older. This is a significant increase from 1990 when the rate was fewer than 1 in 10.
The federal government's 2009 American Community Survey found that rates for those over 50 were highest among black couples and lowest among white couples. Those who divorced were also more likely to be less educated than those who remained married. The survey also found that the divorce rate for people who were in their second or third marriage was 2.5 times higher than for those in a first marriage.
The rising divorce rate may be attributed to longer life spans as well as baby boomers' changing ideas about marriage. One baby boomer suggested that older adults are searching for self-fulfillment and individual happiness in their relationships. People retire at 60 or 65 and it is likely that they will live another 20 to 25 years. If couples are not happy or are experiencing conflict, they see divorce as a viable option. The baby boomers were the first generation to experience the rapid acceleration in premarital cohabitation and the increase in divorce rates in the 1970s and 1980s.
The trend of increased divorce for older adults brings out a range of other issues particular to older adults. These issues might include loneliness, emotional stress and financial concerns. Nevertheless, many find that divorce is a viable option for fulfilling personal life goals that could not have been achieved with his or her former partner.
Source: CNN, "Baby boomer divorce rate doubles," Greg Clary and Athena Jones, June 24, 2012