Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
 CDC Home Search Health Topics A-Z

CDC Media Relations
Media Home | Contact Us
US Department of Health and Human Services logo and link

Media Relations Links
About Us
Media Contact
Frequently Asked Questions
Media Site Map

CDC News
Press Release Library
MMWR Summaries
B-Roll Footage
Upcoming Events

Related Links
Centers at CDC
Data and Statistics
Health Topics A-Z
Image Library
Publications, Software and Other Products
Global Health Odyssey
Find your state or local health department
HHS News
National Health Observances
Visit the FirstGov Web Site
Div. of Media Relations
1600 Clifton Road
MS D-14
Atlanta, GA 30333
(404) 639-3286
Fax (404) 639-7394


May 24, 2001
Contact: CDC, National Center for Health Statistics
(301) 458–4800

Press Release

Forty-three percent of first marriages break-up within 15 years

New data on marriage, divorce, and remarriage in the United States show that 43 percent of first marriages end in separation or divorce within 15 years, according to a report released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The report, "First Marriage Dissolution, Divorce, and Remarriage in the United States," also shows that one in three first marriages end within ten years and one in five end within five years. The findings are based on data from the 1995 National Survey of Family Growth, a study of 10,847 women 15-44 years of age.

"Separation and divorce can have adverse effects on the health and well-being of children and adults," said CDC Director Jeffrey Koplan. "Past research has shown that divorce is associated with higher rates of mortality, more health problems, and more risky behaviors such as increased alcohol use."

The study also showed that:

  • Duration of marriage is linked to a woman’s age at first marriage; the older a woman is at first marriage, the longer that marriage is likely to last. For example, 59 percent of marriages to brides under 18 end in separation or divorce within 15 years, compared with 36 percent of those married at age 20 or older.

  • About 97 percent of separated non-Hispanic white women are divorced within 5 years of separation, compared with 77 percent of separated Hispanic women and only 67 percent of non-Hispanic black women.

  • Younger women who divorce are more likely to remarry: 81 percent of those divorced before age 25 remarry within 10 years, compared with 68 percent of those divorced at age 25 or later.

  • Non-Hispanic black women are less likely than other women to remain in a first marriage, to make the transition from separation to divorce, to remarry, and to remain in a remarriage.

"These data offer an important glimpse into the social fabric of this country," said Dr. Edward Sondik, director of CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, which conducted the study. "The implications of divorce cut across a number of societal issues – socioeconomics, health, and the welfare of our children."

The report can be downloaded from the CDC web site at

CDC protects people's health and safety by preventing and controlling diseases and injuries; enhances health decisions by providing credible information on critical health issues; and promotes healthy living through strong partnerships with local, national and international organizations.

Media Home | Contact Us

CDC Home | Search | Health Topics A-Z

This page last reviewed May 24, 2001

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Error processing SSI file
Error processing SSI file
Error processing SSI file