Marriage After 40? Not Impossible!

Twenty years ago, Newsweek magazine caused an uproar among single working women when it published a controversial article predicting that professional women over the age of 30 would have a very hard time getting married. Now they admit that those numbers were way off.

Newsweek Senior Editor Lisa Miller joined The Early Show co-anchor Hannah Storm to look back at those numbers and give an encouraging update for single women.

The 1986 article predicted that women after 30 only had a 20 percent chance of getting married. For women over 40, those chances plummeted to 2.6 percent, according to the article.

Asked why those numbers were so completely wrong, Miller said: "Because it was the middle of a cultural revolution. More women were at work, more women were getting college educations. More women were able to be financially independent and it was like predicting the future based on the past when all women got married by 20."

Miller remembers that the reaction to the original article was unbelievable.

"People were anxious, furious, skeptical," she said. "Immediately the census came out with new numbers saying that 2.6 number was too low and it was more like 20 percent for 40-year-old women."

But Miller says there is good news for women older than 40. "So the good news is that for a woman over 40 who is single, she has a 40 percent chance of getting married, at least, and probably better than that," she said.

She pointed out that "90-ish percent" of baby boomer women are married.

Newsweek's original article featured 14 single women; 20 years later, the magazine tracked down 11 of the women and found that eight are married. None of them had divorced, many had children or step-children and all say they were happy.

  • Daniel Schorn

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