What do we know about Marriage in 2008? We – meaning researchers and census takers – know quite a bit. For instance, check out the following (compiled and summarized by Dr. Stephanie Coontz, Council on Contemporary Families):

– In 2004, most people in the United States had married only once, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau (Marriage and Divorce: 2004); 58 percent of women and 54 percent of men 15 and older had made only one trip down the aisle.

– The Census Bureau also reported first marriages for women during the peak of the baby boom lasted longer than recent marriages. Of the first marriages for women from 1955 to 1959, about 79 percent marked their 15th anniversary, compared with only 57 percent for women who married for the first time from 1985 to 1989.

– People born in the leading edge of the baby boom experienced high divorce rates in the 1970s and 1980s. About 38 percent of men born from 1945 to 1954 and 41 percent of women in the same age group had been divorced by 2004.

Other highlights:

– On average, first marriages that end in divorce last about eight years.

– The median time between divorce and a second marriage was about three and a half years.

– In 2004, 12 percent of men and 13 percent of women had married twice, and 3 percent each had married three or more times.

– Among adults 25 and older who had ever divorced, 52 percent of men and 44 percent of women were currently married.

– Just over half of currently married women in 2004 had been married for at least 15 years, and 6 percent had been married at least 50 years.

The data for the civilian, noninstitutionalized U.S. population are from the 2004 panel of the Survey of Income and Program Participation, which interviewed residents of about 43,700 housing units and other dwellings. Statistics from sample surveys are subject to sampling and nonsampling error.

The information can be accessed at http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/marr-div.html