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10 Reasons Why Boomers Are Getting Divorced

The divorce rate for older Americans is on the rise. This is why. 

The divorce rate might be dropping overall, but there is one demographic of people who are bucking the trend: Older Americans. According to new research the number of older people living alone is on the rise, as is the divorce rate for those over 50. Why are boomers opting to end their marriages? Here is what you need to know about the trend and 7 reasons why they are getting divorced. 

Three Times As Many Older Adults Are Living Alone Compared to the 1960s

Elderly woman with beautiful wrinkled face is holding pills in her hands to choose medicines. Selective focus depth of field

According to the latest statistics, nearly 16 million people aged 65 and older in the US lived alone in 2022 – three times as many who lived alone in that age group in the 1960s. Because of the aging boomer population, the number will likely grow. 

One-Third of People Getting Divorced Are Over 50


"We were just floored by our findings," Susan L. Brown, co-director of the National Center for Family & Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University, told CNN. "Well over a third of people who are getting divorced now are over the age of 50," Brown says. "We just can't ignore that group anymore. Brown and I-Fen Lin found that from 1990 to 2010, the divorce rate for people over 50 in the United States had doubled, dubbing it "the gray divorce revolution."

The Divorce Rate for Those Over 65 Is Increasing


She adds that though divorce rates for the overall population are declining, Brown says, "older adults are really bucking the trend," especially for those over 65. "This means more and more people are going to be aging, probably, alone, and outside of marriage, certainly," Brown says.

Economic Gains Women Have Made


One of the reasons more older people are getting divorced is because they can, due to financial independence. Because women have main economic gains since the 1960s, they can afford to be alone. 

Changing Attitudes Toward Marriage


Divorce used to be a taboo topic, but not anymore. Because marriage isn't thought of as a scarlet letter anymore, many people aren't ashamed to go through it. 

They "Don't Want to Die Next to" Them

Judge gavel deciding on marriage divorce.

Susan Myres, a Houston divorce attorney, explains that when death could be looming, people rethink their choices. "I had one client tell me, 'I do not want to die next to that man – I'm out,'" Myres says.

Differing Opinions About Politics and Vaccines


In the post pandemic world, she noticed another reason why people opted to split – they had differing perspectives on vaccines, masks and politics.

The Kids Are Grown


Some people held their marriages together for the kids, but now that they are all grown up and even have grandkids, they are choosing to go on their way. "I've seen a pretty sharp increase in mature couples who have adult children and probably have some grandchildren," Myres says.

Abuse and Cheating


Myres adds that some of her clients suffered abuse or discovered shocking transgressions.

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They Want Autonomy


Myres says that all of them – including some clients in their 80s – feel like any years of life they have left are too precious to spend with the wrong person.

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