The flipside of this finding is the relative rarity of divorce among younger Americans today. This is likely due to a variety of reasons: people are waiting longer to get married, and cohabitation is on the rise. In the 1970s, a couple might get married at 25 and be divorced by 30. But today, that same couple would be more likely to simply live together for a few years and then head their separate ways when things go south.
As an assessment of the health of American marriages, these findings cut two ways. On one hand, a divorce is a far more disruptive and messy life event than simply moving out of your partner's apartment. In that sense you have to applaud the wisdom of today's twenty- and thirty-somethings for taking their time before tying the knot. But as Reihan Salam notes at the National Review, cohabitating relationships sometimes produce children. And whether they happen via cohabitation or divorce, split-ups are bad for kids, studies have shown.