Student Author(s)

Sarah Gargan, Hope College

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Steven McMullen, Economics

Document Type


Event Date



Marriage stability has a wide range of determinants, such as education, marital history, and demographic characteristics. Age at marriage, however, has repeatedly been cited as one of the most important influences. Since the 1950s, divorce rates and the mean age at marriage for both men and women have seen a great deal of change. Past studies suggest that an early age at marriage is associated with a higher risk of divorce. Studies also propose that this relationship only holds up to a certain point. Changes to marriage age and divorce rates can have unforeseen interactions with cohabitation, fertility, educational attainment, and labor force participation. This research examines the significance of the relationship between the changing age at marriage and the changing rates of divorce. The data come from the American Community Survey from 2008 to 2017. A multivariate regression approach is implemented to estimate the probability of divorce within the past year for a given age at marriage. The analysis concludes that age at marriage does have a statistically significant effect on the probability of divorce. Older age at marriage is associated with an increase in the probability that an individual was divorced within the past year.

Included in

Economics Commons