Most people in their fifties still married to first partner

13/06/2006 14:00

People born in the period 1940–1954 have now all passed their fiftieth birthday. This makes it possible to take stock of relationship and family formation for this generation. Three-quarters of them are still married to their first partner. 

First relationship

Ninety percent of men born between 1940 and 1954 have ever been married, for women of this generation this is even 94 percent. One fifth of married men and 15 percent of married women lived together before getting married.
Three out of four ever married men and women are still with their first partner. One in five are divorced and about 5 percent are widowed.

Second relationship, or not?

Just over two-thirds of divorced and widowed men have remarried or live together with a new partner. For women this is four out of ten. More women (60 percent) than men (33 percent) live alone. A small percentage of people living alone have a steady partner.

Relationship type after first marriage

Relationship type after first marriage

Satisfied with partner

Men are more satisfied with their present relationship than women. Three-quarters of men who are married to their first partner are very satisfied with that partner. For women this is  60 percent. Women with a new partner are slightly more satisfied than women who are still with their first partner. For men this is the other way around. 

Satisfaction with relationship

Satisfaction with relationship

Second relationships produce relatively many children

Nearly nine out of ten women and eight out of ten men have one or more children. Nearly half of women and men have two children, one quarter have three or more. One in ten first-partner marriages remained childless.
Second-partner relationships produce relatively many children, especially for men. They have the highest number of children on average (2.29). These men often marry young childless women. Women who marry or live together for the second time relatively often have one child (24 percent). Women who do not live together, most of whom are divorced, are more likely to have one child. Divorce seems to inhibit further family formation for them.

Men by number of children

Men by number of children

Women by number of children

Women by number of children

Arie de Graaf