(Via The Daily Beast) How long will your marriage last? Depends on if you smoke, which church you go to, and which state you live in. Read on for Anneli Rufus’ shocking statistics.
*You can’t guarantee the longevity of a marriage, but what you can do is play the odds. Researchers have studied marriage success rates from nearly every conceivable angle, and what they’ve found is that everything from smoking habits to what state you live in can predict how likely it is that your union will survive. Here are 15 ways to gauge whether your marriage is for the long haul—or on the fast track to Splitsville.
1. If you’re a married American, your marriage is between 40 and 50 percent likely to end in divorce.
After peaking at 50 percent in the 1980s, the national divorce rate has dropped steadily, but in the public’s mind, that outdated “half of all marriages” figure still sticks—and scares. “Inflated divorce statistics create an ambivalence about marriage,” says Tara Parker-Pope, author of For Better: The Science of a Good Marriage. “The bottom line is that modern marriages are getting more and more resilient. With each generation, we’re getting a little better about picking mates. A different kind of marriage is emerging in this century.”
(Source: David Popenoe, “The Future of Marriage in America,” University of Virginia/National Marriage Project/The State of Our Unions, 2007)
2. If you live in a red state, you’re 27 percent more likely to get divorced than if you live in a blue state.
Maybe that’s because red-state couples traditionally marry younger—and the younger the partners, the riskier the marriage. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the states with the lowest median age at marriage are Utah, Arkansas, Kentucky, and Oklahoma.
(Source: National Vital Statistics Report, 2003; cited in The Compassionate Community: Ten Values to Unite America, by Jonathan Miller and Al Gore)
3. If you argue with your spouse about finances once a week, your marriage is 30 percent more likely to end in divorce than if you argue with your spouse about finances less frequently.
Money woes kill marriages. The same study also found that couples with no assets at the beginning of a three-year period are 70 percent more likely to divorce by the end of that period than couples with $10,000 in assets. Most divorce risk factors—such as age and education level—correlate with poverty, says Statistics in Plain English author Timothy Urdan. “Whenever you see an explanation for anything, try to figure out what the explanations are for those explanations.”
(Source: Jeffrey Dew, “Bank on It: Thrifty Couples Are the Happiest,” University of Virginia/National Marriage Project/The State of Our Unions, 2009)
4. If your parents were divorced, you’re at least 40 percent more likely to get divorced than if they weren’t. If your parents married others after divorcing, you’re 91 percent more likely to get divorced.
This could be because witnessing our parents’ divorces reinforces our ambivalence about commitment in a “disposable society,” says Divorce Magazine publisher Dan Couvrette. “In most people’s minds, it’s easier to get a new car than fix the one you’ve got.”
(Source: Nicholas Wolfinger, Understanding the Divorce Cycle, Cambridge University Press, 2005)
5. If only one partner in your marriage is a smoker, you’re 75 percent to 91 percent more likely to divorce than smokers who are married to fellow smokers.
“The more similar people are in their values, backgrounds, and life goals, the more likely they are to have a successful marriage,” notes Tara Parker-Pope. From age to ethnicity to unhealthy habits, dissimilarities between spouses increase divorce risks