Are Second Marriages More Stable?

On behalf of Ronald H. Kauffman, P.A. posted in Divorce on Monday, May 13, 2013.

Rumor has it that half of marriages end in divorce. The actual number is closer to 41%. But, even that statistic is in doubt. What about second marriages? Most statistics show second marriages fail more than first.

However, one group is claiming that second marriages are less likely to end in divorce. The Marriage Foundation produced a report arguing that second marriages are more stable than first marriages.

Almost half – 45 per cent – of all couples who marry for the first time in 2013 will divorce during their lifetime. However, divorced couples who marry for the second time have only a 31% chance of their marriage ending in divorce, according to Harry Benson, Communications Director at The Marriage Foundation and author of the report.

I don’t trust this report. Then again, it’s a good idea to question all statistics.

  • First off, divorce statistics are misleading. The fact is that divorce statistics have been uneven since the National Center for Health Statistics stopped publishing detailed state divorce statistics back in 1996.
  • Second, different sub-groups have very different divorce rates. For example, couples in which both parties have college or advanced degrees are statistically less likely to divorce than couples without degrees.
  • Third, where you live plays a role. For example, Nevada has one of the highest divorce rates in the country, and New Jersey has one of the lowest. Florida is in the middle.
  • Fourth, careers are big predictors of divorce. Members of the clergy are far less likely to divorce than exotic dancers for example.
  • Fifth, are the ages of the couple at the wedding. The risk for divorce drops significantly when couples wed after the age of 25.

My conclusion: don’t get married to statistics.