View Question
Q: Odds of reaching fifty years of married life together ( No Answer,   5 Comments )
 Question
 Subject: Odds of reaching fifty years of married life together Category: Family and Home > Families Asked by: joeaud-ga List Price: \$2.00 Posted: 07 Apr 2004 15:55 PDT Expires: 07 May 2004 15:55 PDT Question ID: 326839
 `What are the odds for a married couple to reach their Golden Wedding anniversay?` Request for Question Clarification by pinkfreud-ga on 07 Apr 2004 16:23 PDT ```"About 52 percent of currently married couples had reached at least their 15th anniversary in 1996, and 5 percent of them had reached at least their golden anniversary (50 years)." Census Bureau News www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/2002/cb02-19.html 5 percent would be 1 in 20. If this is the kind of material you're needing, I'll be glad to repost this information as the answer to your question.``` Request for Question Clarification by hailstorm-ga on 14 Apr 2004 22:49 PDT ```Since lifestyles and lifetimes vary greatly throughout the world, I would think that this question would only be valid for a particular country or reason. For the United States, you could probably get the rough odds for achieving this feat by doing some calculations with the average lifespan for males and females, the average age of marriage for males and females, and the average divorce rate of married couples.```
 There is no answer at this time.

 Subject: Re: Odds of reaching fifty years of married life together From: alkali-ga on 08 Apr 2004 00:38 PDT
 ```Pinkfreud, There is a reason why the data to which you refer does not provide the information requested: the census data refers to "currently married couples". It does not take into account, for example, all the couples in which one or both spouses died before the census, nor does it take into account the couples who dropped out of the sample because of divorce, then did not remarry. The probability of a given married couple reaching their golden anniversary is the multiplicative probability of each spouse living another fifty years from the time of the marriage times the inverse of the probability of divorce for the couple over fifty years. For couples where both partners are young, the chances of each surviving fifty years from the time of marriage is fairly high, so these probabilities would not diminish the overall probability of reaching their golden anniversary very much. For couples where at least one partner is older, however, age becomes a very important factor. If both partners are in their sixties at the time of marriage, the probability of their reaching their golden anniversary is approximately nil, barring unexpected improvements in medical technology. The age of the partners at marriage must be known before answering this question. Furthermore, comprehensive studies have revealed that divorce rates depend upon many factors, such as ethnicity, cohabitation, age at marriage, economic and social conditions, and a host of other factors. These influences are significant rather than being mere academic curiosities. Therefore, you would need to know a great deal more about the characteristics of the couple before predicting a divorce rate over such a long period as fifty years. Another big problem with the census data is that it represents historical, rather than current cohort data, thereby neglecting to account for changing trends in divorce rates. Anyone married fifty years at the time of the census would have endured much of their marriage during a time when divorce rates were significantly lower than they are now. This, coupled with the fact that divorce rates decrease significantly with increasing length of marriage, would inflate the number of couples married fifty years in the sample, as compared with the predicted results for a later cohort. If anything, the census data establishes only an absolute upper limit on the probability of a given couple reaching their golden anniversary. The information I saw was 4.8 percent of currently married couples, as of the most recent census, had celebrated a fiftieth anniversary. If we take into account mildly increasing life expectancies versus drastically increasing divorce rates (more than double versus 50 years ago) a totally empirical calculation would suggest that a reasonable upper limit on the probability of reaching a golden anniversary for a couple starting out today would be no better than one in forty. For a particular couple, the probability might be a great deal lower than that, simply based upon demographic characteristics rather than individual temperament. Here are some links to studies of marriage and divorce in the U.S.A. done by the CDC. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/marriage.htm http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/series/sr_23/sr23_022.pdf http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/series/sr_23/sr23_015.pdf Unfortunately, they are almost maddeningly ageist, in that they focus almost exclusively on individuals under the age of 44, and marriages of less than twenty-five years duration. There may be better material out there for marriage in later life, but I cannot find it. In any case, they do highlight the enormous variability in divorce rates with demographic variables. Best regards, Alan Kali```
 Subject: Re: Odds of reaching fifty years of married life together From: research_help-ga on 08 Apr 2004 07:05 PDT
 ```Pinkfreud, You have misunderstood the statistics involved in this situation. I assume you will not try to post your incorrect information as the official answer. Let's presume, just as an example, that we lived in a wonderful world where 100% of people get married and reach their 50th anniversary someday. However, out of the people who are currently married, let's say 20% had reached their 50th already. This does not mean that the odds of reaching the 50th is 20%!```
 Subject: Re: Odds of reaching fifty years of married life together From: poe-ga on 08 Apr 2004 08:06 PDT
 ```Alan, All your points are valid, and there are many other factors that could be considered also. However, this is a two dollar question, suggesting that the customer is only looking for a general answer, rather than an exact one based upon every possible consideration. As nobody knows what the customer wants except the customer, my colleague pinkfreud-ga has requested clarification. This example is precisely why clarification is built into the Google Answers system and pinkfreud-ga is using it properly. poe-ga Google Answers Researcher```
 Subject: Re: Odds of reaching fifty years of married life together From: journalist-ga on 08 Apr 2004 10:13 PDT
 ```To Researcher Poe: Well-stated! To alkali-ga: you may want to reconsider posting your true name in light of the privacy issues that might occur. Best regards, journalist-ga```
 Subject: Re: Odds of reaching fifty years of married life together From: alkali-ga on 08 Apr 2004 16:33 PDT
 ```Ouch! How can I pour oil on these troubled waters? I am terribly sorry, I did not mean to denigrate your answer, pinkfreud, only to point out a fallacial error in the method of answering the question. I would have refrained from commenting at all, and in fact I read your comment and moved on, but a nagging in the back of my mind caused me to return. True, joeaud does not specify whether he means a couple who started out fifty years ago versus one starting now, but either way the methodology is incorrect, as research_help points out. Joeaud clearly asks for the odds, a statistical measure of probability, and you have given him prevalence restated as if it were a probability. This is misleading, since the number has been arrived at by fallacious means. Unless joeaud has a background in statistics, he is unlikely to notice the error, agree that the answer "one in twenty" is in the form he was looking for, and agree to the answer. My initial reaction was to wait for joeaud's clarification, but I realized that the request for clarification itself was misleading. Regardless of the price of the question, it is probably unfair to present a quick but incorrect answer as if it were correct. Perhaps it would be best to have another researcher with a background in statistics (surely there must be one?) referee this. As regards poe's comment, the answer given is not, I'm afraid, a "general answer" with a request for clarification, nor is it inexact. It is the result of a distortion of the question as asked. It is not my intent to nit-pick about minor factors that might affect the correct answer to the question, but to point out the major issue of the approach to the question. I only mention the other factors as a matter of completeness. I am not at all convinced that pinkfreud is using the request for clarification appropriately. Rather than requesting clarification of the original question, pinkfreud presents a response and asks if it is an acceptable answer. A better approach would be, "Is this the kind of methodology you're needing?", Even then, I'm not sure the questioner can be expected to critique the methodology. Ensuring that the correct methodology is used in answering the question is the researcher's, rather than the questioner's prerogative. I am, futhermore, not certain that the price of the question reflects accurately the questioner's expectation of the quality of the answer. Many questions here on Google set low prices for questions that require enormous amounts of work. If the price is too low for the amount of work required for a correct answer, perhaps it is best to leave the question unanswered, rather than to purvey a response as "the most correct, given the amount of money involved". As regards the egos of unpaid researchers, I assure you that I do not post unpaid answers for the sake of my ego (whatever that is). The main reason I post them is because I feel that I can contribute. An important but secondary reason that I post is because I wish to know if I am correct. With all of the eyes around here scrutinizing responses, if I am out to lunch I shall learn it in an instant. I should have thought that the paid researchers would feel the same. And "Alan Kali" is not my real name anyway. I'm actually a dog. Best Regards, Alan "Woof" Kali```