Based on surveys continuing since 2008, a sociology study now concludes that divorce is skyrocketing in the older age categories, and living-together instability among the younger groups is at crisis levels. This doesn’t show up in the divorce statistics, however, because young people who cohabit do not get divorces. In Georgia and nationwide, the younger people are trading in their existing mates for new models quite regularly, and of course, with no marriage there is generally no economic consequence to moving along.
As far as the older generations, in particular the Boomers, the statistics have been repeated over and over again. Older people have shed their first marriages and have not had much success at their second and third marriages. One theory of the Boomer divorce epidemic is that first marriages entered into in the post-war seventies were inherently unstable and rushed.
The huge and unprecedented legal and cultural changes in the 70’s brought many Boomer marriages to light as being based on false beliefs and former societal norms. The new values took hold in the seventies and pulled the rug out from under the foundations of many Boomer marriages. This led to the break-up of first marriages.
Unfortunately, Boomers did not learn any particular lessons from those experiences, so that their second and third marriages are also dramatically unstable. For example, the divorce rate of people between 60 and 65 has tripled since 1990. The only marriages showing some stability at the moment are the under 25 age group. But that’s deceiving because so many in that group are not getting married but instead are to some extent playing musical chairs with live-in partners on temporary bases.
The trend of living together without marriage has an unpredictable path for the future. Although cohabitation is about 50 percent in Europe, that seems unlikely for the United States where the tradition of marriage is weaved inextricably into the values of family life. In Georgia and throughout the country, family based living seems well in control. Despite the high rates of divorce, people will continue to enter into marriages, and it’s hoped that in the future more and more of that will be done for the right reasons.
Source: TIME, “Divorce Watch: Couples of All Ages Are Less Stable Than Ever“, Belinda Luscombe, March 31, 2014