# Probability of a U.S. Marriage Lasting 50 Years

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Probability of a U.S. Marriage Lasting 50 Years
Economics and Statistics Administration Bureau of the Census Special Compilation August 2004

Probability = 5% About 52 percent of currently married couples had reached at least their 15th anniversary in 1996, and 5 percent of them had reached at least their golden anniversary (50 years). Source: U.S. Census Bureau Public Information Office (2002) 5% = 1 in 20

Probability Not Improving
“If anything, the census data establishes only an absolute upper limit on the probability of a given couple reaching their golden anniversary…If we take into account mildly increasing life expectancies versus drastically increasing divorce rates (more than double versus 50 years ago) a totally empirical calculation would suggest that a reasonable upper limit on the probability of reaching a golden anniversary for a couple starting out today would be no better than one in forty.” Google Answers

If Don and Marlie are the “1”…
Who are the other 19? What happened to them? What can we learn about marriage from this data?

Government Dollars at Work
United States Too Much Information Act of 1991 Tracked 19 other couples married August 28, 1954 U.S. Census Department of Labor Statistics Advanced Boolean filtering functions

Two ways out of a marriage
Divorce: 45 percent – nine couples Death: the rest The reasons for divorce, and in some cases, the cause of death, can be instructive, indicting pitfalls leading to marriage dissolution… and clues to Don & Marlie’s 50 years

Couple No. 1 Tab & Donna Dorferlieben
Divorce – Complaint by: Mutual, Aug. 29, 1954 Cause: Tab played golf on his wedding day. When Donna noticed he was wearing his spikes during their first dance, she stormed away from the reception and drove off. Tab was forced to use rental clubs the next morning for his 9:00 tee time.

Couple No. 4 William and Michelle (Mich) Harvard
Divorce – Complaint by: William, Jan. 9, 1959 Cause: Michelle’s hyperactive metabolism. “I should have known after she ate five pieces of wedding cake on our wedding day. Pounds of chocolates, whole pies, and she never gained an ounce. I couldn’t take it.” William Harvard’s court transcripts

Couple No. 5 Doctie & Toots Hamburger Death – Toots, May 3, 1975
Cause: Hammer After surviving door-to-door census forays and voter drives in the worst neighborhoods of Chicago, Toots was killed when the careless CEO of a small plastics-molding firm dropped a hammer on her head at a Habitat for Humanities site.

Couple No. 7 Scotch and Cindy Rocks Death – Scotch Aug. 22, 1981
Cause: Run over by his own golf cart After hitting a 285-yard drive, followed by a fairway wood 189 yards to the green, Scotch rolled a 23-foot putt within two inches of the hole. Instead of tapping in the birdie, he flung his putter in disgust. The club struck and released the cart foot brake.

Couple No. 9 Susan and Ragan Omicks
Divorce – Complaint by: Ragan Nov. 5, 1984 Cause: Politics Ragan could not get over the fact that his two daughters both became democrats. After creating an in-depth flow chart of educational and personal influences, Ragan was forced to conclude that Susan was the cause.

Couple No. 12 Skip and Cherry Stone
Divorce – Complaint by: Skip, Feb. 2, 1987 Cause: Curling After years of intense and competitive curling with little to show for it, Skip became utterly demoralized when Cherry (who he felt lacked sufficient competitive fire) and a small cadre of her friends out for a giddy weekender, won the National Senior Women’s Curling Championship.

Couple No. 15 Barbara and Harry Aaron Death – Barbara, Aug 29, 1989
Cause: Golf ball Barbara and Harry were celebrating their 35th anniversary with old friends. The two couples had met at Navel training camp when both were newlyweds. While waiting to tee off on No. 3, Barbara’s friend mis-hit her drive, striking Barbara and killing her instantly.

Couple No. 16 Betty and Doc Crocker
Divorce – Complaint by: Doc, March 20, 1997 Cause: Baked goods Doc reached the end of his rope after seeing six dozen cookies packed by Betty and carried off to the grandchildren for the fifth time in four months, with none left behind.

Couple No. 19 Norty and Terri Court Death – Terri, Aug. 28, 2001
Cause: Gunshot On their 45th anniversary, Terri suddenly leaned over and punched Norty in the arm. “That’s for 45 years of lousy sex!” she said. Norty went into the bedroom, came out with a gun, and shot her, saying: “That’s for knowing the difference.”

Clues to Don & Marlie’s 50 Years?

It’s not that they haven’t faced these things… …but rather that none of these things could stop them.