Family matters: Being separated or divorced and aged 55 or older

Release date: June 12, 2019
Family matters: Being separated or divorced and aged 55 or older
Description: Family matters: Being separated or divorced and aged 55 or older

Family matters: Being separated or divorced and aged 55 or older

Of the 11 million people aged 55 and older in Canada in 2017Footnote 1:

  • 1.1 million were currently separated or divorced from a marriage (10%)
  • 500,500 were currently separated from a common-law relationship (5%)

Among those separated or divorced:

  • 6 in 10 from first unionFootnote 2
  • 4 in 10 from second or subsequent union

Average age at last separation or divorce

  • Men: 47 years
  • Women: 45 years
Age group at last separation or divorceFootnote 3
  Men Women
34 and younger 16% 20%
35 to 44 years 28% 29%
45 to 54 years 29% 33%
55 years and older 26% 18%
Total 100% 100%

Average duration of:

  • last marriage: 19 years
  • last common-law union: 7 years

Women are more likely than men to be separated or divorced from a marriage

Previously married

Percentage of persons 55 and older separated or divorced from a marriage, by age group
  Men Women
55 to 59 years 9% 12%
60 to 64 years 7% 12%
65 to 69 years 10% 13%
70 to74 years 8% 15%
75 years and older 6% 11%

Previously common-law

Percentage of persons 55 and older separated from a common-law union, by age group
  Men Women
55 to 59 years 8% 6%
60 to 64 years 6% 7%
65 to 69 years 6% 4%
70 to74 years 2% 4%
75 years and older 1% 1%

Who is most likely to be separated or divorced and aged 55 and olderFootnote 3?

Percentage of persons 55 and older separated or divorced from a marriage, by birth place
  Percentage
Canadian born 15%
Foreign born 12%
Percentage of persons 55 and older separated or divorced from a marriage, by sex
  Percentage
Women 16%
Men 13%
Percentage of persons 55 and older separated or divorced from a marriage, by region of residence
  Percentage
Residents of Quebec 17%
British Columbia 15%
Ontario 14%
Prairie provinces 14%
Atlantic Canada 13%

Source: General Social Survey (Families), 2017.

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