The Gray Divorce Revolution

Divorce rate in the United States is actually on the slight decline, except for one noteable segment of the population: people ages 50 and older.

Divorce rate for baby boomers has doubled over the past two decades, and the phenomenon, dubbed the "Gray Divorce" by sociologists Susan Brown and I-Fen Lin of Bowling Green State University, has got experts scratching their heads:

So what is going on with these baby boomers? Are they finally seeking adventure, now that their kids are out of the house? Are the women exacting their revenge, at last, against the feminine mystique?

The trend defies any simple explanation, but it springs at least in part from boomers' status as the first generation to enter into marriage with goals largely focused on self-fulfillment. As they look around their empty nests and toward decades more of healthy life, they are increasingly deciding that they've done their parental duty and now want out. These decisions are changing not just the portrait of aging people in the U.S., as boomers swell the ranks of the elderly, but also the meaning of the traditional vow to stay together until "death do us part."

Susan Gregory Thomas wrote this intriguing article over at The Wall Street Journal: Link (Photo: John Kuczala/Wall Street Journal)


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