Why Are Divorce Rates Dropping in the U.S.?

July 7, 2021 K.O. Herston 0 Comments

The divorce rate continues to fall. Two recent articles offer differing but complementary explanations for why this is happening.

This excerpt from Vincent M. Mallozi’s article in The New York Times blames the short-term drop on Covid-related factors.

Divorce Rates Are Now Dropping. Here Are Some Reasons Why.

Ms. Cohen rattled off some of the top reasons some couples got divorced during the Pandemic era, or in any other era, such as boredom, financial difficulties, extramarital affairs and physical abuse. She also cited a few reasons couples who “decided to stick it out at this particular time in our history.”

“So many negative things are currently happening that people are afraid to change the status quo, and are staying married,” she said. “It’s not that they won’t divorce in the future, it’s just that people do not have their ordinary outlets right now, they don’t leave the house that much, they don’t go to the office to continue affairs if they are having one, and of course, getting divorced is very expensive.”

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“In those first seven or eight months, divorces were certainly on the rise,” Mr. Wilson said. “My theory is that those getting divorced at that time, were couples already in troubled relationships, but due to the fact that they were getting breaks from each other, they were able to endure it.

“Then the virus emerged, and those same couples were forced to spend more time at home together and interact more often,” he said. “Suddenly, they felt as if there was no escape, and wanted out.”

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According to a report published in October 2020 by the Institute for Family Studies, headquartered in Charlottesville, Va., four other states where divorce statistics are available have also seen reductions in year-to-date divorce filings. Florida is down 19 percent, Rhode Island 13 percent, Oregon 12 percent and Missouri. 9 percent).

Mr. Jewell offered some free legal advice for anyone, anywhere, who is contemplating divorce at this point in the pandemic.

“I would say wait until the weather’s warmer, wait until you get vaccinated, and see what can be solved among yourselves, which will save you a lot of money in legal fees,” he said. “Try to avoid going to court, and if there are any remaining issues that can only be dealt with through lawyers, you’ll be able to handle those things on a much smarter, focused and inexpensive level.”

Source: Divorce Rates Are Now Dropping. Here Are Some Reasons Why. (The New York Times, March 24, 2021).

This excerpt from Rachel Grumman Bender’s article on Yahoo.com attributes the long-term drop in divorces on societal changes like increased cohabitation, waiting longer to get married, etc.

The U.S. Divorce Rate Is the Lowest It Has Been in 50 Years, According to Census Data

The divorce rate in the U.S. is the lowest it has been in 50 years, according to U.S. Census Bureau data analyzed by the Institute for Family Studies.

“For every 1,000 marriages in the last year, only 14.9 ended in divorce,” Wendy Wang, the director of research at IFS, wrote in a post to explain the findings. “This is the lowest rate we have seen in 50 years. It is even slightly lower than in 1970, when 15 marriages ended in divorce per 1,000 marriages.”

“According to the new census data, the median duration of current marriages in the U.S. has increased almost one year in the recent decade, from 19 years in 2010 to 19.8 years in 2019,” she added.

Despite the pandemic, which has presented emotional, physical and financial challenges for many families, Wang stated that “the drop in the divorce rate is likely to continue in 2020.”

The IFS’s analysis of census data also revealed that fewer people are getting married — in fact, the marriage rate in the U.S. is at an all-time low. “For every 1,000 unmarried adults in 2019, only 33 got married,” she wrote. “This number was 35 a decade ago in 2010 and 86 in 1970.” Wang did not respond to Yahoo Life’s request for comment.

That likely stems from the fact that there’s “less pressure” and societal “expectation” to get married than in years past, psychologist Barbara Greenberg, tells Yahoo Life. (In addition, per the report, the pandemic is forcing some couples to delay marriage: “The initial state-level data suggest that [there’s been] a dramatic decline in marriage certificates filed during the COVID-19 crisis.”)

Theresa DiDonato, an associate professor of psychology at Loyola University Maryland, agrees, telling Yahoo Life: “We know that many couples are not choosing to enter the marriage institution, whereas perhaps in previous generations, the idea of engaging in cohabiting, committed relationships was not as socially sanctioned.” As DiDonato puts it: “A lot can change in 50 years.”

With people getting married later in life, Greenberg says they’re more likely to make “a more informed decision, and if it’s a more informed decision, it’s more likely to work out.”

Of course, DiDonato explains that the lower divorce rate may “simply [be] an effect of fewer people entering marriage. Or those who do may be older and they know what they’re looking for and enter marriages that have more potential for more stability.”

Source: The U.S. Divorce Rate Is the Lowest It Has Been in 50 Years, According to Census Data (Yahoo.com, November 14, 2020).

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Why Are Divorce Rates Dropping in the U.S.? was last modified: June 11th, 2021 by K.O. Herston

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