Are Divorce Rates Dropping Because People Are Delaying Marriage?

Bride and groom cutting wedding cake

Couples choosing to get married later in life may be why divorce is on the decline.

Do you dream of your fairy-tale wedding? Or are you one of the many who say marriage is dying a slow-but-steady death?

While there's been much ado about the demise of marriage lately, it seems divorce is having a hard time staying afloat, too. Just-released government statistics show that many of those who are already hitched are staying together. MyDaily: For Richer, For Older: I Was A 'Mature' Bride

Divorce rates across most age groups have been slipping by 5 percentage points since 1996, according to a Census Bureau report.

Researchers associate the change with the fact that couples are waiting longer to get married. Andrew Cherlin, a professor of public policy and sociology at Johns Hopkins University, thinks the fact that men and women are now sharing financial responsibility could be a reason for the trend.

"In the '50s, there was an old-style marriage bargain where the wife stayed home, à la 'Father Knows Best,'" Cherlin told CNN. "That didn't work so well as women entered the workforce. It took a generation to adapt, and now the bargain is both spouses work and they pool their income." MyDaily: Divorce Rates On The Rise In Rural America

Nineteen percent of married women in the 25-to-29-year-old age group, for instance, divorced in 1996, while in 2009 only 14 percent of women in the same demographic left their spouses. Married women aged 30 to 34 also saw a 20 percent divorce dip in the same time period.

One of the few groups with a spike in failed marriages, surprisingly, was the 60-something set, with 37 percent of those women ending their unions in 2009 compared to 27 percent in 1996.

Cherlin says the higher education levels of many modern-day couples could be a factor in why they're staying together, partly because that group tends to wait longer before tying the knot.

"People are waiting till they are settled in a stable job to get married," he said. "People feel more comfortable postponing their trip down the aisle thanks to the increased acceptability of cohabitation."

This article was originally published at . Reprinted with permission from the author.