Divorce Rates Rising Fast in Far East

Aug 8, 2012 by

Many people have commented that the divorce rate in the United States, estimated to be near 50%, is excessively high. Even a divorce rate of 40% would be a number that many sociologists and family therapists feel reflects a culture where troubled relationships are disturbingly common. There is no doubt that society is changing in the United States as well as in the rest of the world too and the rising divorce rates seem to go right along with modern civilization.

However, as high as it is, the divorce rate in the U.S. does not seem to be rising much at all when compared to countries like Malaysia where the number of divorces rose a whopping 105% between 2002 and 2009. Researchers at Help University College in Malaysia recently studied the rates of both marriage and divorce in that country and found that the number of marriages in Malaysia had increased by 21% going from 153,318 in 2002 up to 199,586 in 2009. At the same time the number of divorces had gone from 16,013 in 2002 to 32,763 in 2009, reflecting a huge 105% increase.

The divorce rate is on the rise and marriages seem to be falling apart faster than they are being created in Malaysia. The high ratio of divorces compared to the number of marriages has been a cause for concern in many circles. Researchers point out that the numbers reflect a society where divorce no longer carries the stigma it once did. It used to be that in Malaysia getting a divorce was embarrassing and caused the entire family to lose face.

Today people in Malaysia are more open to divorce. Times have changed from the days when almost all marriages in the country were arranged by the spouse’s families. Most marriages in the country today are self-arranged, and some have speculated that many young Malaysian couples have an unrealistic concept of love and if problems arise and the marriage becomes challenging, they quickly become disillusioned and throw in the towel.

The number of divorces in Malaysia was about 5,000 in 2008 but had already reached over 7,000 by the first half of 2009. Malaysia is a country with a diverse ethnic population and there was an appreciable rise in the number of divorces among Chinese and Indians in the country during 2009. The largest increases were in the Muslim population however, accounting for more than 80% of all the divorces in the country in 2009. The number of divorces among Malaysian Muslims has doubled from the 13,937 that occurred in 2002 to 27,116 divorces recorded last year.  

Observers have described the increases as statistically significant, but also note that even though the divorce rate is rising in Malaysia, the actual rate itself is not nearly as high as it is in most Western nations today. With increases of 105% however, it is clear that the institution of marriage will have to be strengthened if Malaysians want to avoid the high divorce rates that most developed Western countries currently endure.


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