Unmarried Boomers Confront Old Age: A National Portrait

I-Fen Lin, Bowling Green State University
Susan L. Brown, Bowling Green State University

We used the 1980, 1990, and 2000 Census 5% samples and the 2009 American Community Survey (ACS) to document the trends in the share and marital status composition of the unmarried population during midlife. We also developed a sociodemographic portrait of Baby Boomers according to marital status using the 2009 ACS. We found that one in three Baby Boomers was unmarried. The vast majority of these unmarried Boomers were either divorced or never-married; just 10% were widowed. Unmarried Boomers faced greater economic, health, and social vulnerabilities compared to married Boomers. Divorced Boomers had more economic resources and better health than widowed and never-married Boomers. Widows appeared to be the most disadvantaged among Boomer women, whereas never-marrieds were the least advantaged among Boomer men. Health care and social service providers as well as policymakers must recognize the various risk profiles of different unmarried Boomers to provide adequate services to all Boomers.

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Presented in Poster Session 2