There has been some question as to the stability of long term marriages. Most divorce statistics reflect only the first ten years of marriage in the United States and the statistics for long-term marriages are not as accurate or readily available. However, a recently released Pew Research Center report that did examine divorce statistics for long-term marriages came up with some interesting observations. It seems that while the odds of a divorce occurring after a marriage has lasted 40 years is low, at the same time, the likelihood of a divorce also increases as a marriage approaches that 40 year mark.
Census Bureau numbers for 2008 show that the divorce rate for 40 year marriages was only half a percent that year. However, the Pew study shows an increasing divorce rate leading up to the 40th year with 89 percent of men still married by year five dropping to 74 percent in the 10th year and 65 percent 15 years later. The numbers for marriages reaching the 25th year show that only 55 percent were still married. Pew numbers for women showed the same trend and reveal that overall, less than half of all marriages actually last 25 years. Obviously, the older a person is, the more likely they are to have hired an attorney and experienced a divorce, and the Pew report backs that up showing about a third of both men and women in their sixties having been divorced at least once.
The conclusion is that while long-term marriages may be at relatively low risk for divorce once they actually reach the golden 40-year mark, the slope up to that point gets increasingly riskier as one moves toward it and the odds of a divorce climb right along with the length of a marriage.