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What’s the number one truth of gray divorce? The numbers are rising and have been for some time. 

Gray divorce is the term referencing divorcing couples aged 50 or older. Individuals in this age group are also a part of the baby boomer generation. The divorce rate for these individuals has increased by more than 100% in the past 25 years, rising from 5 to 10 married people per 1,000 to get divorced.

Is this statistic alarming? To some, it probably is. 

Is the rising gray divorce rate all that surprising? Considering the young marriages, culturally instilled taboos about divorce that pressured them to fight the good fight as younger couples and ethical standards of the time, some experts expected the increase.

A couple of reasons that are likely to have led to the rise in separations are longer life spans and multiple marriages.

Longer lives

Vitality has increased generation by generation since the dawn of time. The longer we live, the more time we have to take part in new experiences and create more memories. These gray divorcees feel they have done their part. They have raised children and taken care of themselves and their partner throughout times of good and bad. These individuals think it’s time to start anew once again while they are still vibrant people.

Multiple marriages

Another contributor to the rise of the gray divorce rate is those who have experienced multiple marriages. Per 1,000 married people, the divorce rate doubled from 8 to 16 people when married two or more times.

The other factor has to do with the length of a marriage. The shorter a marriage lasts, the more likely one is to remarry and divorce again. 

The breakdown below indicates how many people (per 1,000 married people) got divorced compared to the years they were married.

  • 0-9: 21/1,000
  • 10-19: 17/1,000
  • 20-29: 3/1,000
  • 30-39: 9/1,000
  • 40 plus: 4/1,000

Could the older generation learn something from those younger than them?

Many younger people ( ages 25-39) are divorcing at a lower rate than their parents and grandparents. Much of this has to do with them waiting longer to get married, experiencing all they can while they are young and doing their best not to wed until they genuinely feel they have found the right person.