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50 Percent

How many times have you heard or read that 50 percent of U.S. marriages end in divorce? It’s not true. Yes, the number of divorces each year is about half the number of marriages that same year. But that’s like computing the death rate by comparing the number of people who die with the number of people who are born.

That ignores those who neither were born nor died during that 12-month period. The 50-percent divorce figure ignores the number of intact marriages from years and decades earlier.

The truth is that about one of 50 marriages ends each year, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Pollster Louis Harris maintains that 90 percent of marriages survive until one partner dies.

Daniel Lynch, American Journalism Review, quoted in Reader’s Digest, p. 90