Family Law Blog

Are Divorce Rates Declining?

Monday, November 10, 2014

For decades now, Americans have been told that as many as 50% of American couples end up in divorce court. However, those statistics may not be entirely accurate.

According to a new article in the New York Times, the divorce rate isn't rising, and in fact, has actually been declining since the 1980s. Many social scientists and demographers now agree that the divorce rate in the United States far from increasing, is actually dropping, or somewhat stable. In fact, they deny that the 50% divorce rate is true, and say that young couples in America today are much less likely to get divorced, compared to their parents’ generation.

Why then is there so much focus on the 50% divorce rate in this country? It could be that when divorce rates increase, it tends to fit in with society’s sense of moral outrage. Declining divorce rates, you may notice, do not elicit much response.

In fact, all the evidence seems to prove the divorce rate actually fell after 2005 and has been down ever through the recession. However, that decline is not significant, and the divorce rate has remained more or less stable since 2005.

Those are still optimistic statistics. Further statistics reported in the New York Times suggest that approximately 70% of the marriages that began in the 1990s recently celebrated their 15th anniversary. Couples who married in the 2000s are filing for divorce at lower rates than couples who got married in the 70s and 80s. The feminist movement of the 1970s far from triggering a massive increase in divorce rates has actually helped make marriage more stable with more women working. In a two-income household, marriage is based on shared housekeeping, and shared responsibilities. Additionally, the fact that people are marrying much later has made for much more mature people in marriages.