This paper examines the economic costs of separation and divorce for young women in the United States from the late 1960s through the late 1980s. Broadened opportunities for women outside marriage may have alleviated some of the severe economic costs of marital disruption for women. This paper contrasts the experiences of two cohorts of young women: those who married and separated or divorced in the late 1960s through the mid-1970s and those who experienced these events in the 1980s. Based on panel data from the National Longitudinal Surveys of Youth 1979–1988, Young Women 1968–1978, and Young Men 1966–1978, the results show stability in the costs of disruption. A multivariate analysis shows that young women in the more recent cohort have more labor force experience before disruption than those in the earlier cohort, but prior work history does not protect women from the severe costs of marital disruption.

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