Even though the United States still leads the world in the number of marriages that end in divorce, and while that number has generally declined in the last several years, elderly divorce rates have increased at a tremendous rate and show no signs of slowing.
Researchers from Bowling Green State University’s National Center for Family and Marriage Research Center recently found that the number of Americans age 50 and older who have been divorced doubled between 1990 and 2009. During that same period, divorce rates for those under the age of 50 decreased slightly.
While researchers did not identify any single cause, some experts point to the continued aging of the baby boomer generation. Boomers are retiring at a rate of 10,000 people per day, and some people believe the stresses and problems associated with retirement may be in part responsible for the spike in elderly divorce rates.
Boomers themselves have greatly contributed to the increase in divorce rates as boomer women have been far more financially independent than any generation before them, and the social attitudes about divorce in the boomer generation were much changed then their progenitors. As boomers reach retirement and are faced with suddenly not working or having to spend their entire day around their spouses, many find the transition stressful, which may lead to divorce.