What can we learn from looking at statistics related to blended families? We do not learn how to help particular families, because the challenges of each family (blended or not) are unique. But we can learn a significant amount about the common challenges that face blended families.

Let’s start by examining the causes of blended families.

  • 55% of blended families result from remarriage after divorce
  • 30% of blended families occur when an unwed mother marries
    • Related statistic: 40% of first time mothers are unwed
  • 15% of blended families result from remarriage after a spouses death

In each of these instances children are being raised in a home with one biological and one non-biological parent. We begin to see that the challenges that face a blended family can be different.

  • Children who may have never known their father or had their father in their home
  • Children who want their family to return to how they knew it before a divorce
  • Children who are grappling with grief after the death of a parent

We can also examine the divorce rate that exists in the marriages of blended families.

  • 42-45% of first marriages end in divorce.
  • 60-65% of remarriages end in divorce.

It becomes obvious that remarriage is more difficult than marriage. There are many factors that can contribute to this, but the logic “we learned from our first marriage and won’t make the same mistakes again” is not sufficient to ensure a healthy marriage. This statement may be true about “past mistakes” it does not account for new, unknown challenges.

We can also consider when the divorce tends to occur in a blended family as compared to development of a sense of family identity.

  • Most remarried couples divorce within 3 years.
  • Stepfamilies begin to think like a family in their 2-3 year of existence.
  • It takes 5-7 years for the average step family to feel “normal.”

We can see that the majority of blended family divorces occur before they have given adequate time for their family to “jell” as one. This means that their expectations for how a blended family should bond and develop a sense of common identity were either inaccurate or absent.

Statistics cannot make anything that is hard easy, but they can help us give appropriate weight towards identifying and preparing for unexpected challenges. If we take their caution in this way, then statistics will have served us well.


If this post was beneficial for you, then consider reading other blogs from my “Favorite Posts on Parenting” post which address other facets of this subject.