Atlanta Teen-age brides are far more likely than older women to see their marriages break up within 10 years, a government study shows.
Nearly half of marriages in which the bride is 18 years old or younger end in separation or divorce within 10 years, the National Center for Health Statistics said Thursday. For brides 25 and older, one-quarter of marriages break up in that time.
"We expected the age difference we found, but we were surprised at the size of it," said Matthew Bramlett, an NCHS statistician.
The study also underlined what society has long known that marriages are much less likely to last today than they were a generation ago. One in three marriages fails before the 10-year mark, NCHS reported. In 1973 the last time the government conducted a similar study just one in five failed within that time.
The NCHS study was based on interviews with more than 10,000 women conducted in 1995. Bramlett said staff shortages and budget constraints accounted for the delay in reporting the statistics.
The study found that nearly 40 percent of second marriages for women end in separation or divorce within 10 years, up from 29 percent in 1973.
NCHS is planning a similar study examining marriage from the men's point of view.