Many Baby Boomers who divorce appear to be warming to the idea of staying single forever. Baby Boomers feel less social pressure to marry or stay married than their parents and grandparents did, and being divorced or single later in life also no longer carries the stigma that it once had.
Over the past 20 years, the divorce rate among Baby Boomers surged by more than 50 percent. At the same time, more adults remain single — a shift is changing the traditional portrait of older Americans. About a third of adults ages 46 through 64 were divorced, separated or had never been married in 2010, compared with 13 percent in 1970, according to an analysis of recently released census data conducted by demographers at Bowling Green State University, in Ohio. In 2010, about 12 percent of unmarried adults ages 50 through 64 were living together but not married, up from 7 percent in 2000, census data show (Read more about Divorce Statistics).
People are living longer, and faced with the prospect of a decade or more in unhappy marriages, many middle age couples decide to end the marriage. Financially independent women are more willing and able to go it alone.
Remaining single after divorce may mean a more difficult financial struggle, however. Married spouses share disposable income. William H. Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution, warns that many unmarried Baby Boomers face greater economic hardships than their married parents and grandparents and their married counterparts. The Baby Boomers, battered by the recession, have fewer children and thinner financial cushions in savings and pensions.