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U.S. marriages last longer, fewer divorces

WASHINGTON, May 19 (UPI) -- Although 30 percent of U.S. adults have never been married, those who are married are staying together longer than couples used to, census officials say.

The U.S. Census report -- using 2008 data of men and women age 15 and older in about 39,000 households -- indicates 55 percent of currently married couples had been married for at least 15 years, while 35 percent had reached their 25th anniversary and 6 percent passed their 50th wedding anniversary.

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These percentages are about 1 percentage point to 2 percentage points higher than in 1996, reflecting the leveling of divorce rates and increases in life expectancy, census officials say.

Seventy-two percent of both spouses in recorded marriages were in their first marriage; 6 percent of marriages included a wife in her second marriage and husband in his first; 8 percent a husband in his second marriage and wife in her first; and 8 percent had both spouses in their second marriage, the report says. One percent of the married couple consisted of a husband and wife who had both been married three or more times.

First marriages ended in divorce after a median of eight years for men and women, but half of men and women who remarried did so in about four years.

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