Census: Divorces decline, but seven-year itch persists

After decades of increases, U.S. divorces are leveling off, with couples now slightly more likely to reach their 10-year wedding anniversary. But the “seven-year itch” among couples persists, with nearly 1 out of 2 first marriages estimated to end in divorce. …

The census report partly attributed the small declines in divorce to a recent jump in couples cohabitating as well as rising median ages before marriage as people wait longer before making long-term commitments. Increases in educational attainment and job opportunity might also be a factor.

“There’s a new marriage bargain based on having two earners that seems to be working for more and more couples,” said Andrew Cherlin, a sociology professor at Johns Hopkins University, citing a stronger economic basis for couples to stay together and raise a family. “Most divorces have always occurred within 10 years of marriage because most people who are unhappily married figure that out quickly.”