WASHINGTON - Nationwide, divorce rates have leveled off since peaking in the 1980s. Roughly four in 10 marriages end in divorce. But the rate varies significantly among different races and ethnicities, reports The Washington Post.
Among black women, half of first marriages end in divorce, a rate that is far greater those for white, Hispanic and Asian women.
Couples who split seem to recognize their marriage isn’t working long before they get to a landmark anniversary. Most had divorced within eight years of their wedding.
Nearly a third of adults never marry at all. That number has marched upward in every age group over the past decade and a half.
In 1986, one in four people ages 25 to 29 had never married. In 2009, that was true of almost half in that age group. The number of adults 50 to 54 who have never married also jumped during the same time period to one in 10.
As with divorce, marriage rates vary with race and ethnicity. Seven out of 10 black women in their 20s have never married, a dramatic increase from the mid-1980s.
Census demographers noted that the percentage of never-married black women 55 and older rose to 13 percent in 2009. The magnitude of the change suggests that many more black women than white women will never marry, the report said.
The census also showed that a higher proportion of people who have married recently are Hispanic, which is the fastest-growing minority group in the country. In 1996, about one in 10 recently married adults was Hispanic. By 2009, it had increased to one in five.
“The differences between blacks and whites and Hispanics are changing the landscape of marriage,” said Renee Ellis, a Census Bureau demographer who worked on the report.