Stepfamily Statistics

Stepfamily Statistics StepMom Magazine
Read this article inside the September 2014 back issue of StepMom Magazine.

Stepfamily statistics can seem daunting. According to the U.S. Census Bureau and the 20-year Virginia Longitudinal Study of Divorce and Remarriage conducted by E. Mavis Hetherington, professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Virginia, more than 60 percent and up to 73 percent of all marriages involving children from a previous relationship ultimately fail.

While statistics don’t lie, couples that educate themselves about stepfamily life can increase their chances of beating the odds.

Making the effort to understand why your family doesn’t look, feel or operate like a first family will better equip you to manage the complex situations and emotions inherent to almost all stepfamilies.

To learn more about stepfamilies and how to avoid becoming a statistic, click here to subscribe to the monthly magazine.

42% of American adults have at least one step relative in their family
– either a stepparent, a step/half sibling or a stepchild.

According to the Pew Research Center, remarriage is on the rise. 2

  • 42 Million adults in the U.S. have been married more than once (up 22 million from 1980)
  • 40% of new marriages (in 2013) included at least one partner who had been married before
  • 20% of new marriages (in 2013) were between people who had both previously been married
  • 23% of adults who are presently married have been married before

Men are more likely than women to remarry.

  • 64% of divorced or widowed men have remarried
  • 52% of divorced or widowed women have remarried

Some believe the third time is a charm.

  • 8% of newly married adults have been married three times or more

It’s not uncommon for men to repartner with younger women.

  • 57% of newly remarried men have a partner who is within 5 years of their own age
    (compared to 80% of newlywed men in their first marriage)
  • 20% of newly remarried men have a wife who is at least 10 years their junior
    (compared to 5% of newlywed men in their first marriage)
  • 18% of newly remarried men have a wife who is 6-9 years their junior
    (compared to 10% of newlywed men in their first marriage)

According to the National Stepfamily Resource Center:3
The U.S. Census Bureau recently decided to discontinue providing estimates of marriage, divorce and remarriage except for those that are available from our current census. Thus, many of our current estimates and statistics were derived from the 1990 census and earlier data sources. Census estimates from 1988-1990 suggest:

  • 92% of all men and women marry by age 50
  • 43% of first marriages will end in divorce within 15 years
  • 75% will remarry (65% bring children from a previous union)
  • 60% of those who get remarried divorce again and of those:
    15% will end within 3 years
    25% will end within 5 years
    39% will end within 10 years
  • 8 years is the average length of first and remarriages that end in divorce
    3.5 years is the average time between first divorce and remarriage
    54% of women will remarry within 5 years of first divorce and 75% remarry within 10 years
    50% of men who remarry after first divorce do so within 3-4 years

These statistics underestimate the number of U.S. stepfamilies because, to date, government reporting of population figures indicates families in which the child resides. So if the child lives with a divorced, single parent and the other nonresident parent has remarried, the child is not included in the calculations as being a member of a stepfamily. Children who are 18 and older or no longer living at home are not included in estimations.

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