Research project Divorce in old age: Predictors and consequences of late life divorce
Over the last 20 years, the divorce rate has doubled among women and men aged 60 and older in Sweden, in contrast to the flat trend in the rest of the adult population. The project is examining reasons to and consequences of late life divorces on living conditions.
A similar increase of late life divorces has been observed in several other countries. This development is unexpected and puzzling according to previous knowledge and theories on divorce. Increasing late life divorce generates a potentially economically vulnerable population among those of advanced age, especially women. Yet, little is known about causes and consequences of late life divorce and the recent development.
Shedding light on this topic provides a knowledge-base with implications for policies on pension, labor market, housing, and elderly care and their potential for providing adequate living standards for a growing part of the population. It will also contribute to the theoretical development as late life divorce must be understood from new angles.
The project investigates late life divorce in five sub-projects, with the potential of making theoretically and empirically important contributions. The project is focused on that different life experiences create different conditions for and after late life divorce. The first two sub-projects, examine the probability of experiencing late life divorce, more specifically the role of spouses’ economic resources and that of complex family structures, e.g. having stepchildren/stepgrandchildren.
Three of the sub-projects focus on consequences of late life divorce, where we first examine residential outcomes. We also assess the economic consequences of late life divorce for people in Sweden as well as compare the situation in France and Germany.
The project predominately utilizes Swedish register data, which due to its size, richness, and high quality allows detailed studies of divorce in this age group. The data cover the entire resident population of individuals born 1920-1956, who reached age 60 before or during the past two decades of increasing late life divorce.