If you’re in a relationship with someone older (or younger) than you, you’re not alone. In fact, there’s a whole community out there that feels the same way as you do—and they’ve been right here all along!
We’ve gathered several statistics about age gap relationships to help you navigate your own relationship and see how it compares to those of others. You’ll learn about everything from how common the relationship is to how long people have been doing it. We hope this helps!
Age Gap Relationship Statistics (Editor’s Choice)
The relationship age gap is one of those topics that never seem to remain in history. People love to talk about it, and many have done research focused on it. Here are the top age difference relationship stats to know right now:
- Only 1% of American heterosexual couples have a husband older by at least 20 years than the wife.
- The wife is older than the husband in less than 15% of American heterosexual marriages.
- Having an older partner of at least ten years is more common in homosexual relationships.
- The number of UK women who date younger men has tripled.
- Bigger age gaps increase the chances of getting a divorce.
- The average age gap between Leonardo DiCaprio and his girlfriends is 15 years.
Yes, we know that all these figures are surprising and some even shocking in their own way. And yet, that’s not everything we have in stock for you. So, scroll down to discover even more age gap relationship statistics.
General Age Gap Relationship Statistics and Facts
1. In 85.1% of all American heterosexual married couples, the man is older than the wife.
According to data published by the US Census Bureau, the majority of married couples between a man and a wife with an age gap featured an older male partner. This was the case in 85.1% of all the couples. American married pairs where the female partner is older represented only 14.4%, and the rest are those who have no age gap whatsoever.
2. Only 1% of all US heterosexual married couples had a 20+ age gap between the husband and the wife.
Census Bureau data from 2017 reveals the age difference among heterosexual married couples in the United States. According to the figures, only 1% of all married couples have a husband that’s 20+ years older than his wife. Most married couples, including a man and a woman, have an age gap of only 1-2 years, and the man is the older partner.
Below, let’s see the percentage of all American heterosexual married couples by age difference.
- Husband older at least 20 years – 1%
- Husband older 15-19 years – 1.6%
- Husband older 10-14 years – 5%
- Husband older 6-9 years – 11.2%
- Husband older 4-5 years – 12.8%
- Husband older 2-3 years – 19.6%
- Husband older 1-2 years – 33.9%
These figures show that about 10% of all American heterosexual married couples have an age disparity of 10 years or more.
3. Most American wives older than their husbands have an age gap of 2-3 years.
While marriages where the husband is older than the wife are the most common, the opposite situation also exists. However, they are far less common. In fact, only 0.4% of US straight married couples have a female partner who’s older at least 20 years than the male partner. And the age gap of at least ten years is present in only 2.7% of these couples.
Below, let’s see the share of US marriages where the wife is older by age difference.
- Wife older 20+ years – 0.4%
- Wife older 15-19 years – 0.3%
- Wife older 10-14 years – 1%
- Wife older 6-9 years – 2.8%
- Wife older 4-5 years – 3.4%
- Wife older 2-3 years – 6.9%
These figures show that when the female partner is older, the most common age gaps are the smallest ones. The same pattern was noticed among American straight couples where the husband is older, as well.
4. About 8% of couples in Western countries have an age difference of at least ten years.
In the book The Dark Side of Close Relationships II, the authors’ analysis reveals that an age gap of at least ten years is seen in about 8% of couples in Western countries. This figure is higher when the focus shifts to same-sex unions.
In that regard, homosexual relationships with two men lead the way. In such unions, the 10+ age gap was present in about 25% of the cases. When it came to female-female couples, about 15% of them had partners with an age gap of at least ten years.
5. The lower the age gap, the lower the likelihood of getting divorced.
A study focused on relationships by Andrew Francis-Tan and Hugo M. Mialon tries to guess the chance of success of a marriage. The age gap is another important factor among the various parameters like wealth and having children.
According to the research, a big age difference negatively affects marriages. In fact, the study claims that an age disparity of five years increases a couple’s likelihood of getting a divorce by 18%. A bigger age gap of 10 years nearly doubles the divorce chances to 39%. By comparison, couples with an age gap of one year are only 3% more likely to get divorced.
Back in 1963, only 15% of the UK brides had more years than their husbands. This trend has been changing over the years as the views on age gaps have shifted. By 1998, the share of brides older than grooms in the UK increased to 26%.
Moreover, a study by Melvyn G. Coles and Marco Francesconi highlights how the number of ladies who married or lived with a younger partner of at least five years has tripled between 1970 and 2011.
(The Guardian, JSTOR)
7. Western Africa is the region with the highest difference in the mean age of marriage between men and women.
Statistics on age gap in relationships by region reveal that Western Africa and Middle Africa lead the way. Using the mean age of marriage difference between men and women by region, the organization has mapped the typical age gap.
Below, we’ll list the regions from the ones with the highest age gap difference to the ones with the lowest.
|Region||Relationship Age Gap|
|Western Africa||6.6 years|
|Middle Africa||6 years|
|Northern Africa||4.5 years|
|Eastern Africa||4.3 years|
|South-Central Asia||3.7 years|
|Western Asia||3.5 years|
|Southern Europe||3.3 years|
|Eastern Europe||3.1 years|
|South America||2.9 years|
|Western Europe||2.7 years|
|Central America||2.5 years|
|Eastern Asia||2.4 years|
|South-Eastern Asia||2.4 years|
|Northern Europe||2.3 years|
|Northern America||2.3 years|
|Australia and New Zealand||2.2 years|
8. Gambia, Congo, and Burkina Faso led the way as the countries with typically the highest age gap between male and female partners.
The difference between when men and women typically get married is a valid source of information for establishing the typical age gap.
When men and women decide to enter marriage is heavily affected by where they live and their cultural background. So, the countries where the age difference is the highest are those where polygamy is legal and where marriage is expected from people at a certain age.
The top three countries with the highest typical age difference between men and women in marriage are Gambia, Congo, and Burkina Faso. Their respective age discrepancies are 9.2, 8.6, and 8.6 years.
9. It’s just a matter of preference?
Many scientists have tried to find patterns and reasons for the apparent age gap between female and male partners, with the man being the older one. According to research by David Buss, whose findings have been further supported by Schwarz and Hassebrauck, the reason may be very simple. It seems that it’s all a matter of preference.
Namely, men typically find younger females more attractive than women their own age or older. By contrast, women seem to like older men the most attractive. These two seem to be a perfect match and lead to a high number of marriages with a solid age gap.
The study by Schwarz and Hassebrauck asked both men and women about their ideal mate’s age. Men were open to having a partner older, on average, 4.5 years. However, they preferred significantly younger females, on average, with a 10-year difference between them. By contrast, women were open to men older, on average, eight years, and younger, on average, five years.
10. More than half of successful conversations on OkCupid are between men older than their prospective female partners.
Analysis of the OkCupid dating platform reveals an interesting trend.
Namely, 34% and 27% of all successful conversations through the service are between males older less than five years and more than five years of the potential partner. This means that 61% of the successful conversations are between older men and younger women.
By comparison, only 9% of the successful conversations are among participants of equal age. The remaining 12% and 19% are between women more than five years older and women up to five years older than the men they’re trying to woo.
So, it seems that even before becoming a couple, older males and younger females have more success in communication.
11. As women get older, they start pursuing younger partners.
The same analysis by OkCupid reveals a fun pattern among how old partners men and women target through the platform. Men typically message significantly younger potential partners, especially as they get older. So, men at 50 and 55 typically message women at 44 and 47.
Women, by contrast, message slightly older men, and then they try to contact partners around their own age. Finally, by the time they’re 55, they typically message men at 51. So, it seems that women are focusing on younger partners only as they get older, while men are always more interested in younger partners.
12. A big age gap may increase the chance of one or two of the partners getting depression.
The research focused on the age difference in long-term relationships has discovered that a big age gap may have negative effects in the long run. More precisely, it could result in repression in one or two of the partners.
The same survey established that couples with partners of the same age had the lowest depression rates. Those whose age discrepancy was equal or higher than three years reported higher depression rates. So, the researchers have concluded that the ideal age gap in relationships when it comes to mental health is between one and three years.
Still, they highlight that there are numerous couples with age gaps of ten or more years that have reported high satisfaction. So, it seems that the overall experience depends on many other factors besides age.
13. The Leonardo DiCaprio age gap phenomenon.
When discussing age gaps, the possibly most infamous star on the topic in the past few years has been Leonardo DiCaprio. The Hollywood actor and film producer is widely known for his preference for younger partners. As a result, a Reddit user created a graph depicting how the actor’s age is increasing year over year while his girlfriends are never over the age of 25.
At the time of the graph publishing, DiCaprio was 44, and his girlfriend at the time, Camila Morrone, was 21. Their relationship age gap is 23 years. The graph included eight girlfriends he dated in the period between 1999 and 2019, none of them older than 25. He was six years older than Gisele Bundchen and ten years older than Bar Rafaeli.
There was a 16-year age gap between him and Blake Lively, as well as a 15-year one between him and Erin Heatherton. Next came Toni Garrn, Kelly Rohrbach, and Nina Agdal, and he was older than them 18, 15, and 17 years, respectively.
So, the average age gap for Leonardo DiCaprio’s relationships between those two decades was 15 years.
14. Many celebrity couples have big age differences.
The age gap relationship never seems to stop. Even among celebrity couples, the big age difference never goes unnoticed. Here are some of the most popular pairs where one partner is much older.
- Holland Taylor is 21 years older than Sarah Poulson.
- Michael Douglas is 25 years older than Catherine Zeta-Jones.
- Jason Statham is 20 years older than Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.
- George Clooney is 17 years older than Amal Clooney.
- Ellen DeGeneres is 15 years older than Portia de Rossi.
- Jay-Z is 12 years older than Beyonce.
- William H. Macy is 12 years older than Felicity Huffman.
- Ryan Reynolds is 11 years older than Blake Lively.
- Priyanka Chopra is 11 years older than Nick Jonas.
Considering that many of these couples have been together for years and even decades, age seems to be just a number in their case. Maybe all that wealth and fame is the secret sauce of a happy marriage when the age gap relationship statistics claim otherwise.
We’ve covered a lot of ground in this article, from the basics of age gap relationships to some statistics you may not have known. It’s been a long journey but we’re finally at the end – so let’s recap everything that we have learned.
First and foremost, age gap relationships are perfectly okay – in fact, there are many benefits to having an age gap relationship. Second, most people who enter into an age gap relationship do so with the best interests of both parties in mind.
And finally, regardless of your beliefs about love and marriage, it’s important to remember that everyone is different and what works for one person might not work for another – so be open-minded when considering entering into an age gap relationship!
It’s clear from our analysis that there is a lot of variety when it comes to what works for older women dating younger men, as well as vice versa. What matters most is finding someone you connect with on an emotional level, and taking the time to get to know each other well.
So whether you are currently in an age gap relationship or considering embarking on one, hopefully, this article has given you some useful insights into what makes a successful relationship.
Thanks for reading!