Teenage Marriage Drops In Frequency, But Rises In Divorce Rates

Teenage Marriage Drops In Frequency, But Rises In Divorce Rates

In light of the announcement that Sarah Palin's 17-year-old daughter Bristol is pregnant and intends to marry her 18-year-old boyfriend Levi Johnston, the New York Times has taken a look at the declining popularity (and success) of teenage marriage.

The median marrying age for women in the late 1950s was about 19, according to David Popenoe, co-director of the National Marriage Project at Rutgers University and an emeritus professor of sociology there. But a marriage between 19-year-olds -- or even 17- or 18-year-olds -- then would not have been described as a "teenage marriage," he said. It was too routine to be given a special label.

....Studies show that today teenage marriages are two to three times more likely to end in divorce than are marriages between people 25 years of age and older. The most comprehensive study on marriage and age that sociologists cite was published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2001, from 1995 data, and it found that 48 percent of those who marry before 18 are likely to divorce within 10 years, compared with 24 percent of those who marry after age 25.

See a slideshow of the nearly overnight transformation of Levi Johnston from self-described "redneck" to clean-cut expectant father and fiancé.

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