The Public Eye

Reports from the Bee's investigative team

May 10, 2011
Divorced after 25 years of marriage: some stats

Today's announcement that former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver are separating after 25 years of marriage prompts the question: how many couples are still married on their silver anniversary?

The Census Bureau tracks the percentage of Americans still married at various milestones. The latest data available -- for couples wed between 1974 and 1979 -- shows that less than half of this group will still be married at the 25-year mark. Only 46.4 percent of women and 49.5 percent of men will still be in their first marriage. (The numbers are naturally less for second marriages: 36.7 and 42.0 percent, respectively.) Couples married in earlier years display more longevity in marriage.

The divorce rate varies a lot among the states. And surprisingly the divorce rate is generally lower in cosmopolitan coastal states than in many heartland states. Oklahoma leads the country with 16.5 divorces per 1,000 women over 15 (i.e., divorces in 2007 per 1,000 women). Kentucky (15.0), Idaho (14.5) and Arkansas (14.1) are next in line. North Dakota has the smallest rate of divorce, 6.0, followed by New York (7.1), Hawaii (7.7) and Pennsylvania (8.0). California does better than the national average, 9.9 compared to 10.5.

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