Toronto Sun

Thursday, July 25, 2002

1 in 3 marriages doomed: Study

By AP, Toronto Sun

WASHINGTON -- One in three marriages will end in divorce during their first 10 years, with certain couples more likely to split up than others, a U.S. government survey finds.

People who marry young, have less money, are not religious and whose parents are divorced are more likely to divorce themselves.

Overall, by age 30, three in four women have been married and about half have lived with a partner outside marriage.

Those are among the findings of an extensive survey of nearly 11,000 women ages 15 to 44 exploring factors influencing cohabitation, marriage and divorce. The survey, conducted in 1995 by the National Centre for Health Statistics, focuses on a wide range of family and fertility issues and included only women. A new round of interviews being done now includes both men and women.

Among the findings:

- Women whose parents were divorced are significantly more likely to divorce. Among women whose parents stayed together, 29% were divorced after 10 years. Among those who came from broken marriages, 43% were divorced.

- Couples who live together before getting married are more likely to divorce. After 10 years, 40% of cohabiting couples had broken up, versus 31% of those who did not live together first.

"It's likely that if you're willing to cohabitate that your family values are not as strong as someone who is not willing to cohabitate," said Matthew Bramlett, the report's author.

- Black women are significantly less likely to marry than white women. By age 30, 81% of white women have been married, whereas only 52% of black women. The report notes one explanation, that there are fewer black men considered marriage material, given their high rates of unemployment. Black women are also less likely to remarry after a divorce than white women.

- Just over half of divorced women -- 54% -- get married again within five years. For white women, it's 58%, but just 44% for Hispanic women and 32% for black women.

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