Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: midilfe crisis statistics ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: midilfe crisis statistics
Category: Family and Home
Asked by: qpet-ga
List Price: $80.00
Posted: 01 Jan 2003 11:55 PST
Expires: 31 Jan 2003 11:55 PST
Question ID: 136055
where can I find statistics on midlife crisis? I want to know how many
(what percentage) goes through a midlife crisis and the
impact.(Affairs, new cars divorce drugs, ect.)How long on average does
this phase last?
Subject: Re: midilfe crisis statistics
Answered By: bobbie7-ga on 01 Jan 2003 19:55 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello Qpet,

I've organized a digest of links to articles and studies with
statistics related to what you listed in your question.


The National Survey of Midlife Development in the United States
(MIDUS) is the first comprehensive scientific description of normal
midlife in the United States.

Here is the abstract:

“The National Survey of Midlife Development in the United States
(MIDUS) is a collaborative, interdisciplinary investigation of
patterns, predictors, and consequences of midlife development in the
areas of physical health, psychological well-being, and social
responsibility.  (..) The survey contained more than 1,100 questions
exploring 27 areas of midlife.
The National Archive of Computerized Data on Aging (NACDA), announces
the availability of the National Survey of Midlife Development in the
United States (MIDUS).  This study, funded by the United States
Government, is available for public download from the NACDA website
To access, just enter study number 2760 and then press search.

Description--Study No. 2760





According to Cornell sociologist Elaine Wethington, more than 25
percent of Americans over age 35 think they have had a midlife crisis,
but more than half of these were no more than stressful life events.
She says that women are just as likely as men to believe they have had
a midlife crisis.

“Wethington reported that one-fourth of her adult population sample
said they had experienced a midlife crisis; of those aged between 40
and 53, however, about one-third thought they had had one. The average
age of the "crisis" was 46. About one-fifth of those who said they had
suffered a midlife crisis said it was the result of their awareness
that they were aging and time was passing them by. Few connected the
crisis to feelings of impending mortality or approaching death.

Wethington bases her conclusions on the largest study ever done on
midlife, funded by the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on
Successful Midlife Development. Her research, based on the study's
midlife crisis section, which she conducted, is based on intensive
follow-up surveys of 724 respondents, aged 28 to 78 years old, and is
published in the October 2000 issue of the journal Motivation and
Emotion. The larger study is called the "Midlife in the United States

Source: Cornell News Service


In Wethington's study, midlife was defined as 39 through 50.

“Wethington found that, of more than 700 people surveyed between the
ages of 28 and 78, only one-fifth had a midlife crisis, defined by
researchers as personal turmoil prompted by fears and anxieties about
growing older.


Although divorce is considered a hallmark of midlife crisis,
Wethington says that wasn't the case in her study. Divorce usually
occurs within the first five years of marriage, when most people are
in their 30s, she said.“

What midlife crisis by Carrie Stetler - February 24, 2002


How Long Does Midlife Crisis Last? 

The most honest answer is, "Until the transition is completed. Until
all values can be sorted out and the person accepts being a midlife
person instead of a young adult."

“Generally, a midlife crisis takes three to five years. During the
first year or so, tension and anxiety will gradually increase, as well
as some lifestyle changes. The middle phase can be quite traumatic,
including depression, running away, or a drastic job change.

After values are sorted and realigned, a gradual, but fluctuating,
coming-down from anxiety occurs. There is a return, surprisingly, to
life structures quite similar to the previous ones, only now more
refined, focused, and effective.”


Results from the midlife project by John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur
are discussed in this Washington Post article.

“Despite the widespread satisfaction with their lives, nine out of 10
respondents in the project said they would like to be younger than
they are. Two-thirds said that most of the time, they actually feel
younger than their chronological age. Only 14 percent said that they
feel older than their birth certificates indicate.”


On average, midlife folks said their health was a 7 to 8 on a scale of
10, lower than what it was 10 years ago, but still quite high.
Middle-aged adults said they expect to maintain their health for the
next 10 years, but the project found that less than a quarter of
participants "are working hard" to make sure that it does. Seventy
percent of participants described themselves as overweight. About a
quarter of the men and 42 percent of the women aged 45 to 54 years
said that they were already experiencing shortness of breath upon
exertion--an indication of their chronic inactivity and a possible
early warning sign of heart disease.

Source: The Washington Post


In the article “Men at Midlife: Avoiding the Crisis” by Michael

“The number of cosmetic surgeries on men, ranging from hair plugs to
face lifts, has increased 300 percent over the past few years. Doctors
have written millions of prescriptions for Viagra, which infuses a
flagging sex life with youthful vigor. Even the number of sports cars
sold to youth-obsessed middle-age men is on the rise.


“In their surveys, MIDMAC researchers have found “that only 10 percent
to 12 percent of the population reports having had a midlife crisis —
divorce, being fired or suffering a serious illness, events that could
occur at any time in life. Such an event, says Gilbert Brim, the
director of MIDMAC, can unquestionably trigger an emotional crisis.


 But the researchers found that only about 5 percent of men have a
true psychological crisis in middle age, and that group has tended to
experience emotional upheavals throughout their lives.”

Source: MSNBC Website


When does midlife start and how long does it last?

In the U.S., we have beliefs about the ages when midlife begins and
ends. The 25- to 34-year-old men say midlife begins at 40 and ends at
56. The 65- to 74-year-old men say it begins at 46 and ends at 61. The
younger women say 42 and 57 and the older women say 48+ to 62. This
pattern is evident across all age groups, and across the gender

What is remarkable is that although men and women, and young and old,
may differ in their views on when midlife begins and ends, they share
one belief: whatever midlife is, "it lasts 15 years."


Mid-Life Crisis

Recent research by the MacArthur Foundation has suggested that the
midlife crisis is relatively rare – at least the major crisis that
results in great emotional upheaval and buying red sports cars

“Studied 3,000 people, between ages of 25 and 74, and found that the
period between 40 and 60 was characterized by increased feelings of
well being and a greater sense of control over many parts of one’s

Here are some numbers:

“The majority reported feeling better about their lives today than
they did 10 years ago.

Only 23% reported having any form of midlife crisis.

Of those 23%, only a third reported the crisis as a time of personal
turmoil caused by their realization of their aging.

Other 2/3 tied the crisis to a specific event (loss of job, for
example) that may not be connected to aging.

Those who did experience an age-related midlife crisis were more
likely to have scored high on neuroticism.

Thus midlife appears to be a time of general emotional calm, rather
than great crisis.”

Source: College of Arts and Sciences

One of  the MacArthur study's major findings about the  midlife crisis
 is that 9 out of 10 people in the study never experienced one.



According to Larry Bumpass, Ph.D., a sociologist at the University of
Wisconsin in Madison who directs the National Survey of Families and

“Many of the stereotypes about men at midlife-such as their burning
desire to hold onto youth by latching onto a younger woman-aren't
necessarily true.” Sure, we all know somebody who left his wife for
his secretary when he was 45. But men leave their wives when they're
younger, too”
In fact, Dr. Bumpass's research demonstrates quite clearly that the
risk of divorce actually declines the longer people are married.
Another study, conducted at the New England Research Institute in
Watertown, Massachusetts, by John B. McKinlay, Ph.D., a psychologist
at the institute, showed that only 2 percent of over 1,700 middle age
and older men surveyed reported having more than one current sexual
partner, a far lower rate than the stereotypes would have us believe.”

Source: Clarian Health

The Midlife Dimensions website states:

“Our own studies over several years indicate that 80 percent of the
women and 69 percent of men that we surveyed have never been involved
in an affair.”



“Contrary to stereotypes, modern divorce is not primarily a phenomenon
of male (or female) "mid-life crisis." Examining worldwide statistics
on divorce reveals that 81% of all divorces occur before age 45 among
women; 74% of all divorces occur before age 45 among men. In the
United States, the median age at divorce from a first marriage in 1990
was 33.2 for men and 31.1 for women.”


Motorcycles and Sports Cars

More and more middle-age men are buying Harley-Davidson motorcycles
for freedom and fun.

“The median age of Harley motorcycle riders for 2001 was 45.6, while
in 1997 the median age was 44.6, according to Harley-Davidson customer
demographics. (..) Most people say it is a middle-age crisis, but I
have never grown up.

“Honda estimates that U.S. demand for sports cars has risen to around
90,000 vehicles a year from a low of about 50,000 in 1995, and will
level off after 2001 at nearly 100,000 cars a year. Honda expects 70
percent of S2000 buyers to be men between 40 and 55 years old, and to
have an income of more than $100,000 a year.
People in this group are "looking to recapture their lost youth," says
Dan Bonawitz, American Honda's vice president in charge of product


Midlife questions and answers:

Statistics show a declining satisfaction with each repeat marriage.
First marriages are now lasting an average of 11 years, while second
marriages are lasting only 7 years, and third marriages are surviving
a dismal 5 years.


Midlifers tend to underestimate their health risks.

 "As a general rule," Cleary says, "only 20 percent of people believe
they have a higher than average risk for heart attack or cancer. (Not
statistically likely.) Even those at very high risk underestimate
their situation."

I have not been able to locate any statistics on drug abuse related to
midlife crisis.

Health Issues in Men

“Health issues of concern include alcohol and substance abuse,
domestic violence, midlife crisis and depression. Alcohol remains the
most abused drug in America. The highest rates of alcohol abuse are in
men 25 to 39 years of age.”

Source: American Academy of Family Physicians.

Men's Health and Substance Abuse by Dr. David Smith &
San Francisco Medical Society


Age Timeline:

33 -- Women's median age at divorce 
34 -- Women's median age at remarriage after divorce 
35 -- Americans' median age 
35-50 -- Midlife crisis 
36 -- Men's median age at divorce 
37 -- Men's median age at remarriage after divorce 
44 -- Average age if BMW buyer 
48 -- Typical RV owner 
49 -- Average age of Lexus and Infiniti buyers 
50-51 -- Average age of natural menopause 
52 -- Average age of Mercedes buyers 

Source: Elder Care Website


Crisis in Midlife?
The Quality of Marital Life, Parent-Child Relations, and Mental Health
of Midlife Adults


Additional information that may interest you:

"Family, Work, Work-Family Spillover and Alcohol Abuse during
The goal of this research project is an examination of the association
between family solidarity, work characteristics, and work-family
spillover and problematic alcohol consumption during midlife.

Socioeconomic Background and Midlife Health in the United States 
Department of Sociology and Institute for Social Research

Baby Boomers at Mid-Life: The Future of Aging in North Carolina

Responding to the Challenges and Opportunities Presented by Baby
Boomers at Mid-Life

Search Criteria:

statistics on midlife crisis
how many people have a midlife crisis
Midlife in the United States Study
Midlife crisis +impact
"midlife crisis" studies
midlife crisis impact on automobile sales
“ midlife crisis” “drug use” statistics
“ midlife crisis” “affairs”
“ midlife crisis” “cars” statistics
midlife crisis divorce percent
"middle age crisis" statistics
Midlife Crisis sports cars sales
impact "middle age crisis"  

I hope these links and resources help you in your research.

Best Regards,
qpet-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
exellent work!! thank you !!

There are no comments at this time.

Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy