Remarriage is on the rise for Americans ages 55 and older, even as younger generations who have taken the plunge once are becoming less likely to have remarried. What has not changed is that older adults remain more likely to have remarried than their younger counterparts.
Current status + progress
Remarriage generally becomes more common with age—not surprising, given that it takes some time to enter into one marriage, exit that marriage and then enter into a subsequent one. But the likelihood of having remarried has dropped sharply for those younger than The trend in remarriage among adults ages 55 and older has gone in the opposite direction. These increases may in part be fueled by rising life expectancies. Some suggest that longer lifespans have contributed to increasing divorce at older ages as people realize they have many more years to live and want to find fulfillment in that extra time.
The same factor may be contributing to increases in remarriage among older adults. While the gender gap in the likelihood to marry again is notable, it has narrowed over time, as men have become somewhat less likely to remarry, and women have become somewhat more likely to do so. The gender gap has closed mainly among younger and middle-aged adults who are eligible to remarry. Divorced or widowed women ages 25 to 54 are now about as likely as men in that age range to have remarried.
Among those ages 55 and older, the gap remains substantial. In less-educated groups, remarriage among women has remained stable during this time period, while it has declined markedly among men.
Among adults who have been divorced or widowed and are thus eligible to remarry, whites are the most likely to have married again, and this likelihood has increased somewhat in recent decades. These patterns mirror those seen in rates of first marriage, where whites are more likely than blacks or Hispanics to enter into marriage for the first time. Age composition is playing a role in these patterns—the fact that whites tend to be older may contribute to their higher likelihood of remarriage, for instance.
However, some racial and ethnic differences persist, even controlling for age. In contrast, remarriage has declined since for non-whites and Hispanics. The increasing prevalence of remarriage among whites is driven entirely by increases among white women.
For all other racial and ethnic groups, both men and women were less likely remarry in compared with Among adults who are eligible to remarry, those born in the U. Older newlyweds are among those most likely to be entering their third marriage. Not surprising, newly married adults younger than 45 were much less likely to be entering into at least their third marriage.
Native-born newlyweds are twice as likely as foreign-born newlyweds to be entering a third or higher order marriage.
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Newsletters Donate My. Research Topics. Race and Ethnicity Among adults who have been divorced or widowed and are thus eligible to remarry, whites are the most likely to have married again, and this likelihood has increased somewhat in recent decades.
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