What Are the Chances that Your Marriage Will Last?

Political  Calculations
Posted: Feb 20, 2012 12:01 AM

Although we don't go there often, we're not ones to shy away from personal topics here at Political Calculations. We are, after all, the only blog out there that gets into your paycheck, goes into your house to see if you should switch to compact fluorescents and helps you figure out how much diet soda your system can safely handle.

But now we're getting really personal with our latest tool, adapted from math posted by Geek Logik author Garth Sundem at his blog, asking the question "What are the chances your marriage will last?"

While the Geek Logik blog post contains three separate equations for helping decide various marital topics (the other two answer the questions "should we get married" and "how many kids should we have"), we were intrigued by the statistics that underlie the question of marital sustainability. Here's what Garth wrote about the data:

... the first is based on solid statistics -- an 11,000-person study by the CDC that expolored factors that help and hurt a marriage's chances of working (for example, they found that if a woman is married before age 24, her chances of staying married for 15 years decreased by 30%). These statistics were easy to write in math terms, and the equation does fairly accurately predict your chances of being married at time "T". Granted there are other factors that might help or hurt your specific marriage, but the CDC study found that, for most people, these are the biggest factors. Remember that the average for all marriages is only about 50% and if you get a low number, please accept my very best wishes in bucking the odds.

There's not much more than to go straight to the math, captured in our tool below:


Personal Data
Input Data Values
Her Age at Time of Marriage
Current Combined Years of Post-High School Education
Number of Kids from This Marriage
How Religious is the Couple?
(On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being "the Pope")
Combined Number of Divorces of Couple's Parents
Combined Previous Marriages
The Anniversary (Years of Marriage) for Which to Calculate the Probability


Will You Still Be Married?
Calculated Results Values
Probability at Given Year of Anniversary

Having coded the math, let's reassure you that the result isn't processed through any sort of normal probability distribution. It is, at best, an approximation. Just change the default "religiousness" value to 10 (aka "the pope") and you'll get a better than 100% probability level! Aside from these quirks of math however, you'll still be able get a somewhat realistic approximation of the odds that you'll be married for your "Xth" anniversary over a pretty wide range of the distribution curve.

Now that you've seen the generic probability that you'll still be married to your current spouse at the anniversary of your marriage that you entered, you may have more questions than answers. If the probability is really low, that might be a good place to begin a conversation with your spouse. If the probability is high, you may already have a strong foundation for a successful marriage.

Just remember that it never hurts to make it stronger.