Study: The Bigger The Age Gap, The Shorter The Marriage

Life & Love | Gerren Keith Gaynor | 11/12/2014 | 03:30 PM EST

Emory University professors study 3,000 people to find certain differences become deal breakers in relationships

If you’re looking for a sign on whether a marriage will last or not, look no further than their date of birth.

Data shows that couples with large age gaps are more likely to divorce than those who are closer in age, according to recent study of 3,000 people by two professors from Emory University.

“A five-year age gap statistically means you’re 18 percent more likely to divorce (versus just 3 percent with a 1-year age difference), and that rate rises to 39 percent for a 10-year age difference and 95 percent for a 20-year age gap,” reports the New York Post.


Marriages or relationships with a significant age gap experience the pitfalls of not only being a part of different generations, but differing cultural reference points and values. They may also have opposite tastes in music, film, friends, and even a different approach to their sex life, one expert tells the Post.

Those differences in preferences could have major strains on a union. Just imagine trying to have a debate on whether Rihanna or Brandy is more valuable to music.

But age gaps aren’t the only viable indicators of whether a marriage will last. Whether or not you and your partner have the same education level also plays a role with those who do not are 43 percent more likely to head to divorce court.


Additionally, the longer your relationship manages to stay together the less likely it will dissolve. For example, the study finds, you’re 43 percent less likely to divorce if you stay together two years, and you’re 94 percent less likely to divorce if you reach 10 years.

Other factors may play a role in a marriage’s longevity, such as childrearing. Having your first child out of wedlock statistically means you’re 59 percent less likely to have a divorce than a couple with no children, while having a child during a marriage means you’re 76 percent less likely to split, the study determined.

Still even with such informative data, the Emory University study provides possible indicators of divorce rather than actual reasons, meaning there is more correlation than actual causation. But it’s interesting to know nonetheless.

(Photo: Daniel Grill/Tetra Images/Corbis)

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