Stat of the Day: The Seven-Year Itch Ain't No Myth

For Marriages That End in Divorce, Separation Occurs at a Median of Seven Years

By Published on .

"I think it's wonderful that you're married! I think it's just elegant."

Marilyn Monroe might have paid lip service to being a fan of marriage in "The Seven Year Itch," but new data from the Census Bureau shows that the titular and titillating concept is no myth. For first marriages that ended in divorce, the median time before the couples separated was, you guessed it, seven years. The divorce was final after a median of eight years.

On the more positive side, the majority of currently married couples got past the itch. Fifty-five percent report they have been married at least 15 years, and 35% have hit their 25th anniversary. The majority of American adults have been married at least once, according to the report. As of 2009, 55% of all U.S. residents age 15 or older had tied the knot at some point.

But the rates differ depending on race and ethnicity. The white non-Hispanic population is more likely to be married than other racial and ethnic groups. This all might change. The age of first marriage had been steadily increasing in the U.S,. hitting record ages in 2010 of 28.2 years for men and 26.1 for women. Millennials today are far less likely to be married in their 20s than Gen-Xers were, according to Pew Research. Some studies suggest they're putting it off for economic reasons. Some suggest they are just less inclined to get married at all. As we wrote last week, the majority of women who never marry have a child regardless. So we're seeing all kinds of shifting patterns in marriage and fertility. Partially this is driven by other factors, like the increasing median age of the white non-Hispanic population compared with the much-younger Hispanic population. All of this impacts life goals, working and spending habits, and flexibility of a population to migrate to areas with better economic opportunities.

We'll keep an eye on all of these trends for you.

Married chart