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Better Economy Linked to More Divorce
The reasons a couple may divorce range from falling out of love to interpersonal issues that cannot be resolved. However, new research has shown that the state of the economy may play a role in whether couples file for divorce or not. While money is not the cause of every couple’s divorce, it is often not until the divorce begins that couples see how big of a role finances play in the process.
According to Abdur Chowdhury in his article, “Til Recession Do Us Part: Booms, Busts and Divorce in the United States,” there is a correlation between changes in the divorce rate and shifts in the economy. Analyzing over 30 years of divorce data spanning 45 states, Chowdhury noted that during the recent recession, from 2007 to 2009, the rate of divorce declined. In fact, 38% of couples who were considering a divorce during the last US recession made the decision to postpone until the economy was on the mend. According to Chowdhury’s research, once the economy began to rebound, the divorce rate increased dramatically.
Another study published by University of Maryland sociologist, Philip N. Cohen, examined the effects of the recession on the divorce rate. While some people felt the decline in divorces was the sign of couples becoming stronger during a financial crisis, Cohen feels the decline in divorce rate was due to lack of money. Most couples simply cannot afford to divorce when times are hard. In his research, Cohen estimated that 150,000 divorces would have happened if the recession was not in effect and money was not an issue.
Why Couples Divorce When Times are Good
The reasons couples opt to divorce during a better economy is simple: money is available and financial stability is not in question. Primary marital assets, including the family home, retirement accounts and investments all lose value during a recession. Depending on the degree of loss, some couples may decide they cannot afford to divorce until the economy rebounds and assets are recovering their value.
In some cases, job security is a major concern for couples. During a recession, employment often declines as businesses scale back on costs to remain profitable. Without a stable income, couples cannot risk going through a divorce.
Rise in Divorce Rates are a Sign of a Healthy Economy
An increase in divorce numbers means that people are more confident about their financial futures. Effectively, couples have less to fear in terms of financial well-being if they were to file for divorce. When looking at the statistics, the number of Americans that filed for divorce rose for the third straight year post-recession, as of 2012. According to Bloomberg, that jump means that the American economy is trending in the right direction.
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