You may divorce the bride.
July 21, 2008 9:50 AM   Subscribe

What percentage of marriages don't even last one year?

So today is my one-year anniversary (we made it!), and my buddy says to me, "I wonder what percentage of marriages don't even make it to that point?"

Not that I am going to take this tidbit of information and put it in a Happy Anniversary card, but I thought it might be amusing to share with the wife this evening over dinner. :)
posted by fusinski to Human Relations (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Disclaimer: If you tried to publish this, you would be crucified by angry sociologists.

Page 5 of this pdf states that 87.6 percent of men who married between 1985 to 1989 stay married long enough to reach their five year anniversary. Page 12 states that the median length of marriage ending in divorces is 7.8-7.9 years, but I can't find a standard deviation.

This data from Norway found that, of 10,720 divorces examined that occurred between 2001 and 2005, 846 were of marriages that lasted two years or less--7.89 percent. To speculate wildly and non-scientifically and with utterly no grounding, halving that number gives you 3.94 percent of marriages ending within the first year. Applying, again non-scientific-but-good-enough-for-bar-discussion methods, these Norwegian results to the 1998 data on this site, which states roughly 1,135,000 divorces occurred in 1998, gives 44719 marriages ending before one year each year, at least a decade ago in the USA.

Now someone who knows what they are talking about will post the actual statistic that my google-fu missed completely.
posted by Benjy at 10:19 AM on July 21, 2008

Best answer: Try this:

Looks like 3% end within 1 year (page 63).
posted by Perplexity at 10:21 AM on July 21, 2008

Weirdly, about half of my friends (and their exes) fall into this category, and the other half have been together for many many years. Which is odd because the ones that seemed doomed (disparate personalities, married very young, "shotgun" weddings etc) are still married and the "perfect couples" are all on their second/third time around. Go figure.
posted by elendil71 at 10:23 AM on July 21, 2008

Oops, 3.94 percent of marriages that end in divorce end within one year. Given the 40-to-50 percent-of-marriages ending in divorce number that generally gets thrown around, that means 1.4 to 1.75 percent of marriages end within one year. That 44,000 estimate should be as true as before, which is probably not at all.
posted by Benjy at 10:27 AM on July 21, 2008

My mother had two marriages that lasted less than a year, her second and her fourth. She's now on her fifth marriage, and will probably have more if she continues her pattern of manipulation and destruction. So, to answer your question, from a one-woman sample size, 40 percent of her marriages didn't last one year.

I've been married 20 years. I got married way too young and way too stupid, but, out of my peer group, no one else I know has lasted this long. Most of my friends and relatives seem to part ways around the 5-10 year mark. My parents-in-law have the longest-lasting marriage I personally know of, 43 years.
posted by amyms at 10:41 AM on July 21, 2008 [1 favorite]

Some Canadian data:
Before the first anniversary of marriage, there was less than one divorce for every 1,000 marriages in 2002. After the first anniversary, the divorce rate was 4.3 divorces per 1,000 marriages. This increased to 18.0 divorces after the second anniversary, 25.0 divorces after the third, up to the peak of 25.7 after the fourth anniversary.
posted by smackfu at 10:58 AM on July 21, 2008

Best answer: Hey amyms! My mom also had two marriages that lasted less than a year, her second and her fifth. Her sixth was her longest, at five years. So that's 33% for her. Also, I've been married 20 years, got married way too young and way too stupid, but no one else in my peer group has lasted this long.

Is this your form of rebellion? : )
posted by HotToddy at 11:26 AM on July 21, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks all, and I hope your marriages last longer than a year! :)
posted by fusinski at 11:30 AM on July 21, 2008 [2 favorites]

I think the percentages compound as you move up in to the 5-7th years and then fall and it rises up again at like 17-20ish. I just saw a tv special about how America has no real sense of what "vows" are and wedding vows were thrown in there. Pretty interesting.

I want to echo amyms up there, I too got married very young (19) and married a woman way out of my peer group. We are still married today with 4 kids. Every single marriage on the planet has issues, but the ones that make it do so because it requires a personal sacrifice on both sides. The sooner people see their marriage as a team, a unit - gone are the days of "individuality" the second that ring hits your finger.

Finally, if your friends chengjih, marriage did not work out due to the planning of their wedding, then I have to admit that is shallow. Truthfully, if you love someone, you could get married in the playroom at McDonalds and it not matter; the vows are between you and your spouse (and God) and thats all that matters.

Over and Out
posted by TeachTheDead at 12:51 PM on July 21, 2008

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