BOSTON (CBS) — We’ve often talked here about the many gifts the “Baby Boom” generation of Americans – born between 1945 and 1965, give or take – have bestowed upon our nation.

Listen to Jon’s commentary 

Disco music, the political leadership of the last couple of decades, gifts like that.

And now we get the news of a Bowling Green State University study that as the boomers are aging, they are also divorcing at record rates.

“The divorce rate among adults ages 50 and older doubled between 1990 and 2009. Roughly 1 in 4 divorces in 2009” were among people over 50.

What is going on?

We knew that marriage was struggling in general, with the current 31% marriage rate “the lowest in over a century,” say the researchers. But you thought of younger adults who prefer to live together outside of marriage or who just flat-out don’t believe in the idea, not mature couples.

It can’t be an economic plus – divorce never is. Are longtime married people suddenly discovering its more fun to be single?

Actually, no.

According to the study, “The rate of divorce was 2.5 times higher for those in remarriages versus first marriages. And the divorce rate declined as marital duration rose.”

The problem, the authors suggest, is the “increasingly complex marital biographies experienced earlier in the life course” by many boomers.

In plain English, what they’re saying is if you couldn’t – or wouldn’t – find a way to make your marriage work when you were younger, it’s likelier that you won’t be able to pull it off later, even though you’re supposedly wiser.

That’s too bad. And it’s a sobering lesson to younger people hoping for a happy married life – better try hard to make it work the first time.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.


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