Many people believe that once their marriage has survived 15 to 20 years, they will surely keep the vows, ‘till death do us part.’ Although the theory that those who are married longer have a lower chance of divorce still holds some truth, the number of people over the age of 50 that file for divorce in Illinois and across the United States is rising. According to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, 2.8 percent of people over the age of 50 were divorced 50 years ago. That number increased to 11.8 percent in 2000 and is still on the rise.
A study by Bowling Green University found evidence to support the gray divorce trend as well. Researchers found that while only 1 in 10 people over the age of 50 were divorced in 1990, more than 1 in 4 people in this same age range were divorced in 2011. Why are more people filing for divorce after so many years of marriage?
One reason may be that people are living longer. Rather than choosing to stay involved in an unhappy marriage, more people have decided to separate as a way to find happiness. With an increase of women in the workforce, many women are more financially independent and no longer feel forced to stay in a marriage because they rely on their spouses’ income. People who build their marriage around their kids or careers may find that they no longer have anything in common once the kids move out or they retire. Gray divorce affects many areas of peoples’ lives, including their finances, families, health and quality of life.