The Divorce Surge Is Over, but the Myth Lives On


It is no longer true that the divorce rate is rising, or that half of all marriages end in divorce. It has not been for some time. Even though social scientists have tried to debunk those myths, somehow the conventional wisdom has held.

Despite hand-wringing about the institution of marriage, marriages in this country are stronger today than they have been in a long time. The divorce rate peaked in the 1970s and early 1980s and has been declining for the three decades since.


But are the number of marriages down? I thought I read that married people are in the minority now.


I have a few thoughts. First, the marriage rate is significantly lower today than it was previously. I wonder if fewer people are getting married out of a sense of obligation, thus leading to fewer marriages and incidentally fewer divorces. My second thought is that with the number of people living as if they were “married” when they actually are not being as high as it is, I can’t help but wonder if the statistics are skewed. My THIRD and FINAL thought is, no matter the cause of the decline I am so happy to see the divorce statistics dropping. :slight_smile:


Yep, they are way down over the past 50 years. This is especially true when looking at people in their prime child bearing years.

The above graph is from a 2010 report at the Population Reference Bureau based on 2009 and 2010 US census bureau data. This is especially true with minorities where something like 50% of black men have never married compared to 68% of white males. Those numbers were closer to 70 and 74% respectively in 1960.

You see a similar phenomenon in Canada too.

I remember a Gallup analysis from last year that showed this actually also impacts the economy. The analysis showed that married couples tend to spend more on average then cohabitating couples. I seem to remember it also said that married couples tend to have higher household incomes in general. I know that causation and correlation are not the same thing, but it begs the question if marriage rates are down simply because young people are waiting until they are financially set before committing to marriage. In other words is marriage now the domain of those who feel financially stable.


I recall reading a study showing that marriage is significantly more prevalent among people of middle to upper-middle class status than it is of people in lower socioeconomic classes. So it’s not clear which is the “chicken” and which the “egg”. Possibly people whose minds are more “forward looking” see both marriage and high achievement as life goals.


The number of marriages and the divorce rate aren’t directly related.

The divorce rate measures the rate of divorces among people who are married. It is not related to the overall population.


The rate has trended partly because fewer people feel “forced” to marry IMO. But does anyone have any new data about the wave of “gray divorce”? A few years ago there was a spike in divorce in baby boomers, sometimes after decades together.

If true, are these just delayed divorces or is this soon to be the new pattern (divorces around 50+)?


since marriage has been ‘refined’, these statistics are meaningless to catholics.


Why be happy? The data shows that divorces are down because people simply aren’t marrying. Most people who would have married in past times due to social convention and religious belief are now practicing serial monogamy instead. They date, mate, move in together, maybe have a child or few, split up, rinse and repeat.

As I have mentioned before in other threads, in my county about 71% of all children born are born to unwed mothers. 71%. That’s an awful lot of children who are likely to grow up never knowing true stability. Also, these kids are growing up with a skewed view of male-female romantic relationships and no clue how to conduct a healthy marriage as they have never seen one!


It is no longer true that the divorce rate is rising, or that half of all marriages end in divorce. It has not been for some time. Even though social scientists have tried to debunk those myths, somehow the conventional wisdom has held.

Well, it doesn’t help that the gay “marriage” movement perpetuates such myths to advance their agenda! :rolleyes:


it is sad, that left to our own conventions, we prefer almost anything to God’s intent for marriage.


I simply meant that if divorce is in any way down among married couples, it is a good thing. You’ll see that I was the first to argue the results are likely skewed due to a decrease in marriages and I’ll wholeheartedly agree that this false marriage trend is more than just harmful.


I see :slight_smile:

Another probable reason for divorce to be down is economic. I’m sure there are a decent amount of married couples out there who would be divorced but for economic realities such as paying child support/alimony and living expenses. If wages and employment numbers were higher among the middle to lower middle classes I expect we’d see more divorces.


funny, pat madrid was just talking about this.


The whole premise is faulty when they set the cut off as 15 years. Sadly a lot of people get divorced after 20 and even 30 years of marriage. They are prematurely claiming that marriages entered into in the 2000’s are less likely to end in divorce, when it’s only 2014. Sorry but I know a lot more people that have been divorced than not. By a huge margin. Of my group, only myself and my best friend have only been married once.


I saw on the news this morning that in the U.S. the rate is 48%-nearly half.
I don’t think that anyone can argue that this is a good thing for either the child or
the nation at large.


I’m in my late 30’s and among my circle of friends and acquaintances I am almost an oddity because I have “only” been married twice. I can’t think of anyone but a few sets of parents that stayed married to a first spouse. I can, however, name 5 people I know off the top of my head that have been married and divorced between 3 and 7 times! :eek:

I also know a few couples that divorced after over 15 years of marriage because the kids were grown or nearly grown and they felt no need to keep up appearances or stay together for the kids.


In the past, marriage was a benefit to females in that they had the security of a male. He would work and protect. The man would be assured the offspring was his.

Now there’s daddy government to take care of the females when they have kids, and the males are not interested in offspring.

We are seeing the results.


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