Do Women Still Spend Most of Their Lives Married?

IB#17-14

The brief’s key findings are:

  • Traditionally, women spent their adult lives married, so it made more sense to study households rather than women separately.
  • The question is whether today’s women are spending fewer years married.
  • The analysis looks at four birth cohorts, ranging from the Depression Era to Mid Baby Boomers.
  • No matter how you define the age span, the percentage of years spent married has dropped from about 70 percent to 50 percent.
  • The reasons are three-fold: 1) fewer women get married; 2) when they do marry, they get married later; and 3) more women end up divorced.
  • Thus, looking at women’s finances separately from men is increasingly necessary for a full assessment of their retirement security.