’Til death do us part?

Photo credit: Pixabay
Photo credit: Pixabay

A headline on the Institute for Family Studies website offers some seemingly invaluable advice for those thinking of tying the knot. “Want to Avoid Divorce? Wait to Get Married, But Not Too Long”

The author notes that, for years, there was a nearly linear relationship between the age you got married, and the risk of getting divorced. The risk went down as you got older. But recently, there’s been a shift. As the author said, “we do know beyond a shadow of a doubt that people who marry in their thirties are now at greater risk of divorce than are people who wed in their late twenties.”

What’s interesting about this study is that the author provides a forecast, but seems to only offer “conjecture” (his word) to explain the reasons behind the findings. (Specifically, he believes that a selection effect may be happening, in which people who wait to get married are the types who aren’t good at being married.)

In many forecasts, you’ll see a statistical model that explains the data. Even forecasts that turn out to be wrong - Dewey defeats Truman, for example - have a reason for why they forecast that outcome. We’re not saying that forecasts without a statistical model explaining them are always wrong. But we do think they’re something you should watch out for as you encounter forecasts in your everyday life.