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The New York Times has an interesting piece this morning, suggesting that more and ore older Americans are going to be dealing with aging issues on their own, without a supportive spouse or partner.

“Over the past 20 years,” the Times writes, “the divorce rate among baby boomers has surged by more than 50 percent, even as divorce rates over all have stabilized nationally. At the same time, more adults are remaining single. The shift is changing the traditional portrait of older Americans: About a third of adults ages 46 through 64 were divorced, separated or had never been married in 2010, compared with 13 percent in 1970, according to an analysis of recently released census data conducted by demographers at Bowling Green State University, in Ohio.

“Sociologists expect those numbers to rise sharply in coming decades as younger people, who have far lower rates of marriage than their elders, move into middle age.”

The story goes on: “The surge in the number of older, unmarried Americans has been driven by several factors, including longevity, economics and evolving social mores, according to sociologists.

“People are living longer, and many couples in their 50s and 60s — faced with the prospect of a decade or more in unhappy marriages — are reluctant to stay the course. Women, who are increasingly financially independent, are more willing and able to go it alone.

“And many baby boomers, who came of age during the sexual revolution of the 1960s and ’70s, feel less social pressure to marry or stay married than their parents and grandparents did. (Only about 17 percent of adults over 64 in 2010 were divorced, separated or had never been married, census data show.) Being divorced or single later in life also no longer carries the stigma that it did for previous generations.”

You can read the whole story here.
KC's View:
I’m taking note of this story because I think it illuminates an important opportunity for businesses - to help these transitional shoppers deal with issues for which, in previous eras, they would have been helped by spouses. It is just another example of how the face of America is changing, and of how these changes may create opportunities for savvy marketers.