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A Profile of Older Americans: 2012

Marital Status

In 2012, older men were much more likely to be married than older women--72% of men, 45% of women (Figure 2). Widows accounted for 37% of all older women in 2012. There were over four times as many widows (8.5 million) as widowers (2.1 million).

Divorced and separated (including married/spouse absent) older persons represented only 12% of all older persons in 2012. However, this percentage has increased since 1980, when approximately 5.3% of the older population were divorced or separated/spouse absent.

Figure 2 - Chart shows the gender differences as men are more likely to be married (72% to 45%) and women more likely to be widowed (37% to 12%)

(Based on online data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement.)

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