It’s Time We Split: Determinants of Divorce in Later Life

Cecilia Tomassini , Università degli Studi del Molise
Giammarco Alderotti, Sapienza University of Rome
Daniele Vignoli, University of Florence

The so-called grey divorces – i.e. voluntary marital dissolutions after age 50 – have been receiving growing attention, both by the press and non-academic discourses. Nonetheless, while a vast amount of research on the socio-demographic, health-related, and economic consequences of divorce at older ages exists, only a few studies analysed trends and correlates of “grey divorces”. In addition, these few studies are limited to the U.S. context. This paper aims at filling this gap. Using official data from 6 waves of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), we document the correlates of divorce in later life across Europe, shedding light on a still rare, but demographically and sociologically interesting phenomenon. Preliminary results show that, when older individuals are considered, the determinants of grey divorce are not much different from the ones associated with divorce early in life. Additionally, we found significant interactions between education and countries as for example in Southern Europe, the Netherlands and Belgium where people with tertiary education are more likely to get divorced, while the opposite is true in Czech Republic. Further analyses will be performed on couples considering both individual and couple characteristics.

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 Presented in Session 56. Kin Availability at Older Ages and Its Consequences on Health