1 minute read


Factors Affecting Likelihood Of Remarriage After Divorce Or Death Of Spouse, Marital Relationships, Remarriage In Later Life

In the United States, approximately 75 percent of divorced people legally remarry, and they usually do so less than four years after divorce. Nearly one-third, however, remarry within a year after their divorce is legal. Consequently, almost one-half of the marriages in the United States include a remarriage for at least one of the spouses; the remarriage is most likely to be a second marriage, but it could also be a third, fourth, or more. One important change in remarriage rates between the 1980s and the 1990s has been observed—a decrease in rates of legal marriage and a concomitant increase in rates of cohabitation. Further, most remarrying couples cohabit prior to legal marriage; the length of cohabitation ranges from a few days to many years.

Internationally, research on remarriage focuses on rates of remarriage after divorce. In general, reports from Western cultures—Canada, Europe, and Australia—and South Korea show remarriage trends that are similar to the United States. However, in some Asian countries divorced and remarried families still experience more stigma than in Western cultures, making it difficult to collect accurate statistics on stepfamilies, who can present themselves as a first-married, nuclear family in many situations. In Nigeria, where marital unions are relatively stable, and fertility is high, men and women remarry very quickly and at high rates after death or divorce. The traditional Muslim Hausa society of northern Nigeria has one of the highest rates of divorce and remarriage in the world. Apparently this is due to wives' fleeing oppressive family situations within a society that expects them to be married. Reports from the Dominican Republic explain that marriage and remarriage rates have decreased in the 1990s for economic reasons; women are choosing single parenting over marriage to men who are increasingly finding themselves unemployed due to a worsening job market. In much of the world, very little is known about divorce and remarriage patterns or about any other types of marital transitions; often this is due to religious or secular laws that forbid divorce.

Additional topics

Marriage and Family EncyclopediaDivorce