Economically Depressed Divorce Rate

Aug 8, 2012 by

The divorce rate in the United States have been slowly inching upward since 1970 and today many source claim the figure has reached the point where half of all marriages eventually fail in this country. However, the numbers are definitely debatable when one considers the different cultural, economic and social groups that each have different divorce rates within the general population. The 50% figure for some groups may be accurate for recent years, but other studies have indicated that the overall divorce rate has actually been declining by a small amount each year since 2007. However, one current divorce trend that does seem accurate is the reduction of divorce rates in a depressed economy.

The 50% figure for the current divorce rate is based on the number of marriages and divorces in a given year. The totals might be correct, but people getting married are not the same people getting divorced within the same year and in many cases the comparisons don’t work for every group studied. For example, higher education could account for a slight dip in the overall divorce rate as studies have shown that couples with more education and higher incomes get divorced less frequently. However the rate is measured, there’s no denying that divorce has huge consequences for individuals, families and communities alike. As Brad Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia recently observed, “Divorce is a social and environmental toxin.”

Studies of trends in divorce rates since the 1960s show a clear relationship between economic growth and divorce. As the economy grew and women in the workforce were enjoying growth and gaining independence, the divorce rate showed a corresponding increase. This explains the current relationship between the depressed economy and marriage success as lower divorce rates correspond to the present economic downturn. The downward divorce trend is also affected by the fact that young couples today are marrying later in life after making the decision to make more time for personal development before they get married. As a result they are often better prepared for a mature marriage that won’t disintegrate.

It is an odd turn of events that creates a positive relationship between economic depression and marriage success. However, it does appear the depressed economy and increased age of newlyweds are both factors that help keep marriages intact and the divorce rate depressed.


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