Among economists and demographers such as Wolfers and Friedberg, the steady rise of divorce rates from the mid 1960s to the mid 1970s has been the debate. Between this years it was discovered that women who are in their 20s contributed to averagely 60% of the rise. Researchers have keenly focused on demonstrating the increasing divorce rates by testing the changes in the economic empowerment of women (Nunley, 2010) and changes in the divorce laws in the early 1970s (Wolfers 2006; Friedberg 1998).
The agreement from the divorce literature laws suggests the reforms led to a tiny transitory increase in the rate of divorce. Mixed results have come about in the literature of the impact the age of women has on the divorce rate, and this is likely due to the realization that women began involving themselves in higher education and the labor market in increasing numbers even way before the high rise of divorce rates from the mid 1960s.
The earlier time-series evidence on the divorce rates that are age-specific and the role they play seems to have been bypassed largely as recent research has moved towards panel data studies, as much as they suggest clearly that the growth in the population by a fraction of young adults, a group that has a disproportionately high divorce risk, has helped in a significant way to the high increase in the divorce rates from the 1960s to the early 1970s (Nunley, 2010).
The divorce rates observed between 1960 and 1974 gives evidence that higher rates of divorce rates over the same period are present in individuals who are in their 20s (Bremmer and Randy, 2004). The main goal for this study is to demonstrate how divorce rates for women who get married in the ages between 18-20 years is higher than those who marry at an old age.
In the early years of marriage, while at a young age the likelihood of divorce is very high. The rates for divorce are higher for those who marry in their teens, and the rates surprisingly are a bit lower for those who marry in the ages of 21 and 22. Individuals who delay marriage at least up to their 20s are able to make better decisions in the marriage, are a bit more mature and can be able to cope with the challenges of married life in a better way than those who get married in their teens (Friedberg, 1998).
In Asian nations such as Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, that are more developed divorce rates are higher than in areas like Thailand and Indonesia that are developing Asian nations. The risk of divorce is linked to the age at which people marry. The younger a couple gets married the higher the risk of divorce. The greatest risks of divorce happen when both men and women marry in their teens, and the risk is higher in men more than the women (Friedberg, 1998).
According to Nunley (2010) married couples in their teens are likely to have been divorced in their 5th to 9th years of marriage, it has been estimated that; a quarter of teenage brides and a third of teenage grooms would have been divorced in the first five years of marriage, also over half of the teenage brides and three quarters of the grooms will have been divorced after ten years of marriage and finally by the end of twenty years of marriage eighty percent of the teenage brides and almost all of the teenage grooms would probably have been divorced.
There is huge evidence that marriage in the teens is highly vulnerable to divorce. An example, between the years 1975-1976, of the teenage brides who got married about thirty percent got divorced ten years later (Isen and Betsey, 2010). However fifteen years down the line between the years 1989-1990 those who got married about fifty two percent divorced ten years later. As for the grooms, in the years 1975-1976 forty three percent were divorced ten years later and those who married between 1989-1990 well over sixty five percent were divorced in the period of ten years (Isen and Betsey, 2010).
The second most risk ages vulnerable to divorce are men and women who marry in their early twenties that is, 20-24 years. However the risk is not as high and the divorce rate is much lower than the teenagers who get married early (Nunley, 2010). An example, while within five years of marriage it is most likely that only 12.2% of the men who are married would have been divorced. In each period of marriage the men and women who marry in their early twenties are less likely and with a wide margin to divorce than teenage couples, and this apply on an equal level to both men and women.
Isen and Betsey (2010) say either way the early twenties marriages are still at a considerable risk of divorce. It is estimated that; in their early twenties those that marry a quarter of women and more than a quarter of men in ten years would have been divorced, by twenty years a third of women and 45.2% of men in their early twenties would most likely have divorced and by the time this age group clocks twenty five years of marriage forty three percent of the women and over half of the men of this age group are expected to have been divorced.
The women who marry in their early twenties are at a high risk of getting divorced just as with teenage brides and grooms, in the years 1975-1976 of those married in their early twenties nineteen percent of the men and fourteen percent of the women were divorced within the first ten years (Cater et al., 2006). However those who married around the years 1989-1990 there was an increase in the divorce rates as twenty six percent of women and nineteen percent of men were divorced (Cater et al., 2006).
The divorce rates go down further for people who get married in their late twenties that is, 25-29 years of age. It is estimated that; among men in their late twenties within five years 7.9% get divorced, in ten years 19.1% get divorced, in twenty years 32.5% get divorced and by thirty years 39.5% would have been divorced (Nunley, 2010). While in women who marry in their late twenties, in five years 6.8% get divorced, in ten years 16.6% get divorced within twenty years 29.5% are divorced and by thirty years 36.2% will have been divorced. Nunley observes (2010) divorce rates for those who get married in their late twenties is almost the same as those who get married around their thirties and forties.
The risk of divorce is lower than any other age group for those who get married while in their fifties even though the risk is a bit lower after the first five and ten years of marriage and increasingly lower fifteen years down the line. Though this lower risk is not because couples strive to stay married the more likely explanation is due to the fact that after fifteen years of marriage there is a high chance of one of the partners dying (Friedberg, 1998). If widowhood was not in the picture we wouldn’t be able to tell the divorce rates amongst those married in their fifties.
The length of marriage is what determines the likelihood of divorce. So in the end some age groups are more prone to divorce than others. The average divorce age in the year 2001 was thirty nine for women and forty two for men though over the years the figure has been increasing due to the ages of the people who are getting married (Wolfers, 2006). Due to the rise in age of marriages since the early 1970s the median divorce rate ages started increasing in the late 1970s. The age of divorce is going up in line with the increasing age of marriage.
Certain women age groups are more prone to divorce than others and the divorce rates that are age specific show clearly the divorce levels in each age group (Wolfers, 2006). While amongst older people divorce rates are lower the effect of divorce in the long run for people who are younger and do not get married again simply means the number of older people who are divorced is larger than those who are younger. Generally for those men who are or have been married before the chances of them being divorced or separated by the time they are in their early forties or fifties is high (Wolfers, 2006). As for women the rates of separation or divorce are higher in their mid thirties going to their forties.
The study uses quantitative research method to collect and interpret the data in order to test the hypothesis. The survey questions include: what was the age at first marriage for the woman? The date the marriage ended? The couple’s age when the marriage ended? Are there any children involved? What is the woman’s level of education?
The research paper also generally makes use of secondary data from panels of the Survey of Income and Program Participation as the datasets that gives the main data on mainly a respondent’s information.
The analysis focuses on both men and women with more information pointing toward the later as far as the women age groups are concerned and with complete records of the marriage. To incorporate more data into the analysis the period of marriage has been matched with the age groups of the couples individually that is; separately for the young women and older women.
Initial findings are that early marriages are linked to the high rates of divorce. Also is the effect of the age at which a couple gets married as the outcome has been seen to be non-linear, for example the effect of one year is more noticeable in couples who are younger(Bremmer and Randy, 2004).
Fertility patterns can also be linked with age increase in marriage that is; it is less likely for women who marry later to have children or they tend to bear fewer children generally. Eventual mothers who get married later on are more likely to have had children before marriage or they wait for a shorter time to have children right after marriage (Bremmer and Randy, 2004). An addition of one year in the marriage is linked with the increase in age at the birth of an individual.
The changes in age during marriage not only affect fertility, divorce or marriage but they also affect the conditions in which the children live over time (Bremmer and Randy, 2004). Children for example who were born around the 1990s to parents who were already married were not likely to witness their parents get divorced by the time they turned eleven years of age unlike the children born in the 1980s, the mothers of these children in addition spent their first ten years married either to someone else or their original spouse (Friedberg, 1998).
Children who are born before marriage of their parents around 1980-1990 for example have experienced less advantages from marital stability the broader way to view the living conditions in marriage is not conditioned to the marital status of the mothers at birth. Increase in age at marriage and marital stability and child bearing before marriage therefore made a child born in the late 80s and the early 90s more likely to have a mother who is married (Friedberg, 1998). Rather than have a big number of children in their earlier years living in married families children nowadays are more likely to be in the same type of family they were born in be it single or married. If an individual feels that the act of a divorce reduces the well-being of the child the change may in real sense be good as lesser children will witness the dissolution of their parent’s marriage.
Friedberg (1998) states that increase in age during marriage may lead to differences in the conflict and condition of the marriage. For example in women the increase of age does not increase the happiness her husband feels in the marriage especially if the couple is in their teens although marriage that takes place in later on in life the couple is more likely to spend a lot of time together on a daily basis and this increases the bond they share hence reducing the chances of a divorce. However married couples have reported that arguments reduce even more as a woman’s age increases.
Women report disagreements with their spouse when it comes to issues such as sex, in-laws, spending more time together and money while the men report on experiencing fewer disagreements with their spouses about kids, in—laws, money and household chores. Men who end up marrying an older woman report experiencing a significantly lower level of disagreements as they end up solving the problem in a more calm manner as opposed to yelling or screaming at each other (Wolfers, 2006).
Still women who get married at a later stage report that their maturity levels are high and thus when angered look for calm ways to solve their problems in their marriage. When a woman waits to marry in most cases it is hard to get physically injured when involved in an argument with a spouse. An older woman during the marriage process is also likely to follow tradition and the marriage most likely will involve payment of a bride price and other moral values involved in marriage hence the divorce rate is lower (Wolfer, 2006).
A woman being older in marriage is also likely to have a job and feel like she has achieved something in life unlike most teen younger women who enter in marriage without having completed their education, hence they have nothing to look forward to and this can impact badly on how society views them hence divorce is most likely to be an easier option. We can see that waiting for marriage is more likely to be advantageous and reduces divorce rates unlike early marriage.
There are higher rates of divorce among couples that married at a young age. Recently divorced women correlate with early marriages.
The findings from the survey indicate show that a woman’s age at marriage and a high divorce rate in future are associated. The risk of divorce can be explained using the year that the woman got married. The probability in recent findings of divorce changes as the marriage ages, and the addition of more years in the age of the bride has a strong effect on the stability of the marriage. Fertility patterns, children and financial issues that can be linked to age also played a role in determining whether a woman stayed in a marriage. Younger women were found to be unstable in all levels as compared to older women.
Some of the wider effects of age during marriage can be seen in women for example, in the relationship between the number of years a woman stays married and her age and although waiting to get married again after a divorce slims down the time a younger or even older bride spends with their spouse after first getting married.
As the marriage age increases it impacts powerfully on the conditions of living of both the children and the adults as well as the characteristics of a stable marriage. This means there is an association between age at marriage and the risk of dissolution also affect the marriage conditions
Bremmer, D. and Randy, K. (2004) “Divorce and Female Labor-Force Participation: Evidence from Time-Series Data and Co-integration.” Atlantic Economic Journal, 32(3): 175-190
Carter, S. B. et al. (2006) Historical Statistics of the United States, Earliest Times to the Present, Millennium Edition. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Friedberg, L. (1998) “Did Unilateral Raise Divorce Rates? Evidence from Panel Data.” American Economic Review, 88(3): 608-627.
Isen, A. and Betsey, S. (2010) "Women’s Education and Family Behavior: Trends in
Marriage, Divorce and Fertility," NBER Working Paper No. 15725.
Nunley, J. M. (2010) “Inflation and Other Aggregate Determinants of the Trend in U.S. Divorce Rates since the 1960s.” Applied Economics, 42(26): 3367-3381.
Wolfers, J. (2006) “Did Unilateral Divorce Laws Raise Divorce Rates? A Reconciliation and New Results.” American Economic Review, 96(5): 1802-1820
Stevenson, B. and Justin, W. (2007b). “Trends in Marital Stability.” Unpublished Manuscript.