Why divorce rates are declining

love tiles ring PixabayDivorce is on the decline according to new research announced in the New York Times. Rates have been declining for three decades, after peaking in the 70s and 80s. “The divorce surge is over,” says the paper.

That’s the good news. However, marriage itself is experiencing a significant decline.

Still, good news is good news, and additional reasons are given for the decline in divorce. These include:
*later marriages, which appear to be more stable;
*fewer couples choosing to marry, and the ones who do make the commitment are serious about marriage;
*less stringent gender roles with more sharing of child care and home care; and
*more couples choosing to marry for love (say the researchers).

There’s another caveat though. The divorce decline is concentrated among people with college degrees. Of the college educated couples who married in the early 2000s, 11 percent had divorced by year seven of their marriage. Of couples without college degrees married around the same time, 17% divorced by year 7. These rates are still probably lower than you thought, though, with the pop culture myth commonly repeated that “half of all marriages end in divorce.” Not even close.

As a result of fewer divorces, many more children may be able to witness their parents’ stable marriages and perhaps learn how to create their own stable families. On the flip side, simultaneously, a record number of children are being raised in one-parent homes—by both never-marrieds and divorced parents.

Unfortunately, poverty rates and income inequality can become huge problems for children in single-parent homes. According to the National Survey of Children’s Health report, only 6 percent of children in married-couple homes have no parent who works full-time. For kids being raised by never-married single mothers, the comparable figure is 46 percent. The Boston Globe provides details in “Two Parent Families have Decreased, and Economic Inequality Grows.”

We’ll take the good news, but keep in mind we have some work to do before we can claim family stability.

Still, don’t believe the hype that marriages are doomed to fail or that most of them fail. Work to make yours a success. And remember, the good news isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, particularly for those in the lower economic and educational spectrum.

For more details, read “The Divorce Surge is Over, but the Myth Lives On” from the NYT.

Lori Lowe has been married to her husband, Ming, for 19 years. She is the author of First Kiss to Lasting Bliss: Hope & Inspiration for Your Marriage. It tells the inspiring, true stories of couples who used adversity to improve their marriages–from overcoming drug addiction to cancer, infidelity, religious differences, and infertility, among many others. It’s available at Amazon.com and in various e-book formats here.

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6 responses to “Why divorce rates are declining

  1. When I read this article it almost seemed unbelievable. I know so many people who are around my age (31) who are divorced or on second marriages. Most barely made it to the 5th year of marriage let alone the 7th. It’s scary, and I feel badly for my friends who are going through these hard times, but it does help me reflect on my own marriage. I hope to not repeat their mistakes.

    • I know several people going through divorce later in the marriage, and it’s equally difficult with school-aged children in the home. If we can learn from others’ mistakes, that’s a good thing. Glad it’s helped you reflect on how to make your own marriage stronger. Best to you.

  2. It is good to read the divorce rates are declining. I do notice a trend of marrying later, which often means taking more time to choose a mate. This could be helping to keep people together longer.

  3. In addition, couples are getting to understand and maritally adjusted to each other now than before. Also couples are getting more committed to their marriage now because lack of commitment to our marriage was what caused many divorce cases before.

  4. This is a great article! Could I re-post it?

    • Thanks. So the search engines don’t punish both sites, it’s best to post an intro paragraph with a link to the original, or to summarize the findings in your own words. Thanks for asking!
      Lori

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