Saturday, September 18, 2010

2002 Male and Female Statistical Data.

I've managed to crunch the numbers from both Male and Female National Survey of Family Growth. As a treat for sdaedalus, I've included the male data.


First My approach to analysis was Catholic, in that you're only allowed to get married once. Remarriages count as a fail. However the data from NSFG 2002 included remarriages amongst the currently married.

Amongst males, 21% of the currently married were second or later marriages.
Amongst females, 23% of the currently married were second or later marriages.

What I basically attempted to do was calculate the following:

%Married=%married/(%married+%divorced+%remarried) for each sexual partner cohort.

1) The first thing to work out was how many remarriages there were.
2) Then I proportionately distributed the remarriages amongst the the greater-than-two-sexual-partner cohorts.
3) Then I subtracted the remarriages from the current marriages in these cohorts to give me a estimate of married once in each group.
4) Then I added the remarriages to the divorce group and performed the above calculation.


Note, this graph does not measure how long the the subjects had been married, simply their marriage status by partner count.

It's interesting to note that male promiscuity does not seem to affect marital stability as much as female.


David Foster said...

Seems like it would be useful to also run this while limiting the sample to people who at the time of the survey were in a particular age band, say 40-45, by which time marital stability evidence would have had some time to accumulate. Lack of caffeine keeps me from being able to concisely express the statistical reasoning behind this, but it feels right..

Anonymous said...

Social Pathologist:

Well, bravo, Sir.

Well done! I'm STILL not convinced that there aren't other conflating factors for all this and that maybe of the factors we DO know of age of first sex and/or religion might be the two that have the most affect on the stability of marriages.

What you HAVE convinced me of is two things:
A. For whatever reason, partner counts higher than about 2 for women are a very bad bet if you wish to marry them, esp. if they had their first sex really young


B. Men's promiscuity while still something to consider in terms of "marriage material" does not matter as much as womens.

I've been following this alot over the past few weeks.


Athol Kay said...

There's very likely a cheating aspect in here too though.

Thursday said...

The big gap seems to come between those who more or less follow traditional morals (thus only having sex with the person they marry or are close to marrying) and all the rest.

But among the latter it is interesting to note that the marital stability rate of men with 20+ partners is the same as for women with 3 partners.

The Social Pathologist said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Social Pathologist said...


I think the best way to do this realistically and efficiently would be to divide people into marriage then divorced cohorts, lets say 1,3,5,7........20+ years and see how the groups vary by sexual partner count. If the longer lasting marriage cohorts have less sexual partners as a group, I think we would be onto something.

Thanks for hanging around, more coming.

Post coming up on that too.

It's really beginning to look if traditional morality wasn't just some arbitrary imposition, there actually might be some rationality behind it.

But among the latter it is interesting to note that the marital stability rate of men with 20+ partners is the same as for women with 3 partners.

Yep, it does appear that sleeping around does affect women more than men. I also noted that the risk of 10-20 man is the same as the risk of the one extra man woman. Still, I thought I wouldn't comment on it since I thought I was beginning to sound a bit misogynistic.

Tom said...

A few points:
(1) I suspect that many (especially younger people) who get divorced accumulate a few more sexual partners. This means that there could be a large number of people who *had* one partner at marriage, divorced, and then had a few more.

Essentially it means that very few divorces (unless they're quite recent) will show up under 1 partner.

(2) If you find the person you want to marry, who are you going to believe, your heart or probability?

"Sorry dear, I know we're made for each other, but you've had three partners over the last 10 years, so I think we're done."

David Foster said...

SP...the analysis by length-of-marriage cohorts--people who have been married longer will on the average be *older*, so part of what would be getting measured would probably be attitudes toward sex/marriage/divorce that were prevalent during their formative years...

Anonymous said...

Over at Hidden Leaves, I was thinking out loud about nonintercourse hookups, ie orgasmic make-out sessions without penetration, and their psychological impact on women, which I think is probably usually much less than actual intercourse//even if the hookup is great and the intercourse is unsatisfying! My impression is that up thru the 1970s and early 1980s, it was pretty common for girls to be dating multiple guys, dating including heavy make-out, and this wasn't necessarily considered slutty//but as couples have started going from making out to sex much quicker, this has led to the (usually temporary) exclusivity starting sooner.

Wondering if you've seen any data on numbers of hookup partners and how these compare with number of sex partners.

-Just Thinking

Doug1 said...

It’s great you’re doing this work Social Pathologist. If I could throw in some thoughts for possible further data mining / numbers crunching on your part?

Including people who have remarried and not caring how long the current marriage has lasted really muddies the water for guys wanting to know the divorce risk by partner count.

What guys want to know is what are the risks of divorce in a high investment marriage - ones that produce kids or that last a long time and hence he’ll have to give half his long term accumulated wealth with her and possibly be on the hook for long lasting alimony (sometimes lifetime) in many states.

I join David in wanting to pick an older age band as coming closer to measuring the risk of whether the marriage would ever dissolve. Using 40-45 yo gen xers who probably mostly got married in the 90s and have a roughly 15-20 year marriage stikes a good balance between i) picking an age cohort too far removed when they married from the conditions under which men might contemplate marriage now; and 2) there having been in the majority of marriages enough time to see if they will really last.

So I’d want to ask if that cohort had even gotten divorced in a marriage which either 1) produced children or 2) lasted 2 years or longer. There’s a good number of marriages which dissolve in the first two years (particularly among the less educated) but this doesn’t usually produce the damage to ex husbands and kids that longer ones do if no kids are involved.

Doug1 said...

*not too removed when they married.

Doug1 said...


But among the latter it is interesting to note that the marital stability rate of men with 20+ partners is the same as for women with 3 partners.

It could mostly be indicating that men with a high partner count are more interested in remarrying and able to do so than women with one are. For one thing women with a high count are probably more often older at the time of the survey than women with a low count. We know that men do remarry significantly more often than women do, particular as age of the woman goes up.

Tom said...

You could also interpret the fact that men's partner count doesn't make as much of a difference to marriage stability as perhaps men are still increasing their partner count even though they're in a stable marriage, the cads!

Anonymous said...

Its not just the personal happiness of a lifelong marital relationship that matters.

Large numbers of divorces in a society have huge affect on the stability of the society, future educational and career prospects of children, and financial and social burdens imposed on society. Fewer divorces also lead to less earnings for lawyers, and that cant be such a bad thing.

SDaedalus said...

How did I miss this? Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Interesting article but I have a minor correction- remarriage in the Catholic Church does not count as a "fail". Other than death of a partner, there are very legitimate reasons for an annulment (Essentially a Catholic approved divorce) which can include cheating, domestic violence (obviously) not being truthful about very important issues before the marriage took place, and many more.

Retha said...

This article is very interesting and I basically believe it, but I expect that there is some problem with either the data you used or the calculations.

Because at every number, women divorce more than men. And it simply cannot be true in heterosexual marriages that one gender divorce more.

Rowina said...

Hi...I have found the dataset from the National Survey for Family growth and want to do my own analysis on it. How did you read the data files? I am on a mac and have R statistical analysis. Do you have the .csv file of the data? My email is rowina_is AT


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