Divorce Probabilities for First and Second Marriages

Second Marriages are More Likely than First Marrirages to End in Divorce
Divorce Probabilities of First and Second Marriages by Duration of Marriage, for Women in the 1979 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth  

Consistent with a previous study based on period data from the 1973 National Survey of Family Growth [J. McCarthy (1978) A comparison of the probability of the dissolution of first and second marriages. Demography (Vol. 15, No. 3)], these data for a cohort of U.S. women show higher likelihoods of divorce for second marriages than for first marriages. In contrast, the NLSY women have considerably higher likelihoods of divorce than the women included in the 1973 NSFG, and also much smaller differences between between the divorce levels of first and second marriages.

Source: 2014 wave of the 1979 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. Since 1979 the study has been collecting marital status data from a panel of U.S. women born between 1957 and 1964. The curves in this figure are cumulative incidence functions produced by survival analyses with respondent’s death or widowhood as competing risks. For more detail on the study and methods, see L. Hargens (2019) Incidence of first-marriage divorce among women in the 1979 panel of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. Demographic Research (Vol. 40, Article 52).

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