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What Is the Actual Divorce Rate in the U.S.? Is it Really Over 50%?
You may have heard that over one-half of marriages in the United States end in divorce. The “fact” has been shared and quoted in many sources for a long time. However, it may not be entirely accurate.
You cannot justify not getting married by saying that you have over a 50% chance of getting a divorce. The alleged divorce rate is simply not accurate.
Continue reading to learn more.
How Common Is Divorce in the United States?
According to the Institute for Family Studies, the divorce rate in the United States hit a 50-year low in 2019. The rate of divorce in 2019 was 14.9 divorces per 1,000 marriages. However, other sources significantly vary when analyzing divorce rates.
For example, the Centers for Disease Control reported a 6.9 divorce rate per 1,000 marriages in 2016. The CDC hasn’t reported a divorce rate over 8.2 since 2000. Since 2009, the CDC has reported divorce rates lower than seven divorces per 1,000 marriages each year.
However, the CDC data only includes statistics from 44 states. Furthermore, some states only report divorces or marriages, but not both.
The United States Census Bureau divorce data is closer to the CDC rates. The U.S. Census Bureau reported a divorce rate of 7.7 in 2018, based on women 15 years and older.
Most sources agree that divorce rates have been falling over the past three to four decades. However, that data must be tempered with the data revealing that new marriages have also been declining. For example, the U.S. Census Bureau reported 17.6 new marriages per 1,000 women in 2009 versus 16.3 new marriages per 1,000 women in 2019.
How Does Marriage Data Impact Our Personal Lives?
The data for divorce rates vary greatly depending on the source. The divorce trends also vary by factors, including age, gender, socio-economic status, duration of the marriage, etc. Ideally, the best marriage and divorce data sources come from those that follow marriages over time. However, that type of marriage data can be challenging to track.
Many factors impact whether a couple remains married for a decade or a lifetime. People get married and divorced for numerous reasons. However, many of those reasons may not apply to your personal life.
Therefore, does divorce data matter to you? For many people, it is a random piece of data they might quote when it suits their purpose, but what matters more is the things that impact their daily lives and marriage.
What Factors Contribute to the Breakup of Marriages?
Other data could impact your marriage more than general data about divorce rates across the nation. For example, Pew Research Center reports that couples are 75% more likely to divorce when they have a close family member or friend who is divorced. In addition, they are 33% more likely to divorce if a friend of a friend is divorced.
Financial contributions to a marriage can impact divorce rates. Couples who equally contribute to the family’s financial stability may be less likely to divorce. When both spouses have similar incomes, there could be fewer arguments about money. Money problems are common factors contributing to the breakup of a marriage.
The cost of divorce could be another factor that affects divorce rates. Some spouses cannot “afford” to get divorced. They need both incomes to support their family.
Getting a divorce could result in one or both spouses requiring government assistance for housing, food, and utilities, as net income for both spouses decreases after a divorce. Unfortunately, children also suffer from a decrease in the standard of living when parents divorce.
Lifestyle habits and choices also directly impact our daily lives. Spouses with different lifestyle choices may be more likely to get divorced.