Divorce Rates in the US

Divorce Rates in the US

In this fast-paced, dynamic and high socialized 21st century, social media has penetrated even the highly discrete locations. 86% of the population is on social media implying that 86% of the people have a virtual identity of which how much is authentic, who knows? According to reports, 68% of the communication has shifted to the internet and another way of looking at this is that most of our conversation happens to a social media profile having a virtual existence and its legitimacy is a big question. Now can you expect to find your soul mate amidst such uncertainty and in the United States of America, the people who think they have found there soul mate with whom they will spend a big chunk of their life with, 35%-45% of them end up in a bad marriage and the end result is a miserable Divorce. 

By the middle of the 1960s, the incidents of divorce started to bloom at an extremely terrifying rate and almost doubled in the next 15 years to reach an all-time high record in the history of the United States of America in the 1980s. Even though the long-time trend of divorce rates had been soaring new heights decade after decade from the colonial period, the divorce rates were level for about two decades after the World War 2, throughout the time period of high fertility known as Baby Boom. Since then, it has been on a constant decline from the time period when it peaked to an enormous amount in the 1980s. This trend is described by many experts as ‘levelling off at a high level’. The decline in divorce rates represents a slight increase in marital stability. The probability of divorce has varied considerably among different segments of the American Society, being comparatively higher for the blacks than for whites or even higher in South America than in West America.

Legally, a divorce or dissolution of marriage is a legal process in which a judge or other authority dissolves the bonds of matrimony and terminate the marriage that requires a petition or complaint for divorce. But a divorce is when two love birds come down from the fairyland they created, in which there were only the two of them and lots of love all around. The true test of one’s relationship is when they face adversities and still stick beside each other to support them.

The attributes that may instil divorce are –

•    Timing of first birth of a children

•    Violence

•    Financial Stability 

•    Medical History

•    Race/ Ethnicity / Caste

•    Infidelity

•    Weight gain

In 2008, a study conducted by Jenifer L. Bratter and Rosaland B King to examine the risk of divorce if the marriage was cross-communal and they found out that the likelihood of having a divorce for cross-racial couples to the same race couples was comparatively higher due to the added stress of what the people would think and resulted in a higher chance of divorce in particular, this trend was observed in the late 1980s.   

In the United States of America, the old psychology of the people to marry, divorce and then repeat led to the unusual growth in the divorce rates to such an extent where 50% of the marriages were doubtful to last more than 5 years. However, times have changed and the modernization of the psychology of the people to think about the rest of their lives before committing and being practical regarding financial issues, communal issues, etc have completely changed the face of divorce rates from upside down. Due to this, the divorce rates have seen an ever so positive downward trend since its all-time high in the 1980s. In 1992, the divorce rate was 68 per 100 couples and since then it has only decreased for good to 46 per 100 couples in 2019. A huge credit goes to this new thinking of the millennial. Unlike the adrenalin junkies who married young regardless of their circumstances, millennials are choosing to marry once they are well educated and have achieved some satisfaction in their respective careers.

The millennials are making better marriage choices that those in the past and the following studies are a testament to that-

•    Love is the key ingredient for American marriages 

About 88% of Americans cite love as a key reason to get married ahead of religion, lifelong commitment or even financial stability.

•    A new wave of thinking regarding remarriages are on the rise. In 2016, 3.56 out of 10 new marriages had a spouse who had said “I do” at least once before.

•    56% of the Americans are 18 or above when they get married which increases their maturity and practical analysis of their soul mate for a long-lasting marriage.

•    Love knows no boundaries when it comes to race or ethnicity as one in six newlyweds was from varied backgrounds.

However, the financial conditions of the male, post marriage play a determining factor in the occurrence of a divorce or not. Reports say that more than 53% of the wives want the man of their house to be able to support them financially and be financially well off. Therefore, being financially unstable has been proven to be the catalyst to all the matrimonial crashes and reports show that in 66%of the cases, it is the woman who files a divorce case against their husband. Studies also suggest that most of the divorce cases occur in poor families than in rich families. 68% of all the divorce cases are filed by poor families who have lost all hope and want separation, indicating that most divorces stem from the roots of financial instability and unsatisfied desires.

Over the year, the divorce rates have immensely decreased in the United States of America mainly because of the boom in the level of education the citizens of the country. 3 in every 5 US citizens has a Bachelor’s degree and the US high school completion rate reached its new peak last year with an astonishing rate of 9 out of 10  of the adults of the United States of America having a high school diploma. This has immensely benefited the post-marriage conditions and resulted in lowering of divorce rates as the couple are highly unlikely to encounter tremendous financial stress that forms the basis of a long lasting relationship and adding to this, an individual who is under the age group of 35 and without a college degree has only a 1 in 4 chance to stay married for more than 5 years.    

All matters related to divorce are under the jurisdiction of different state governments and not the federal government. Hence, different states may have different laws and regarding child custody, Child support, spousal support, distribution of property and debt and the law of the state in which the couple is residing at the time of divorce is taken into consideration. According to the American Law and Economics study, Nevada has the highest rate of filing of divorce followed by Kentucky, West Virginia, and Florida. 

Apart from this studies conducted show that 81% of the women with a bachelor’s degree and 67% man with a bachelor’s degree had a chance to make their marriage last up to two decades but if the women had a degree higher or lower then they only had the probability of 40% to make their marriage work.

Also, a fun fact is that the women who lost their virginity before the age of 18 i.e., before they can call themselves adults have a very minimal but a 28 in 1000 chance to be divorced within 7 years of their marriage due to various reasons regarding the wives’ past relationship.

The current trends in the United States of America regarding marriage and divorce rates paint a clear picture of the reason why divorce rates are declining.

Marriage rates of youth in the United States of America have plummeted and young Americans are not so keen on tying a knot. Studies show that the average age of a male getting married in the United States of America is 29.5 years and the average age of females getting married in the United States of America is 27 years which is increasing constantly. Complimenting this is the high level of life expectancy that allows the citizens of the United States of America to get married at an older age. While earlier, an older man outnumbered women among married adults in the US, this gap has reduced recently. Now, for every 1000 married men above the age of 60, there are 880 married women compared to 660 women in 1960. Therefore, the marriage rates in the United States of America amongst middle-aged or old males and females has been on an upward trend for the past 50 years and is continuously increasing, which is a testament that all the American are thinking more practically before tying a knot which in turn, result in better companionship from both the husband and wife as soul mates along with marriage for adults after they retire (65 and older) is witnessing a rise from 28% in 2002 to 48% in 2019 and hence, the divorce rates are declining

Another contributing factor to the declining of the Divorce rates is the amount of Americans who have decided to spend the rest of their lives alone without a partner and stay unmarried. This figure has jumped from 25% in 1990 to 38% in 2019 and this gap between the married and unmarried, aligning with the United States of America’s class divide, will keep on growing deeper in the coming decades.          

In comparison to the whole world, the divorce rates of the United States of America are on the high end of the list. The United States of America stands 5th amidst other countries in respect of the divorce rates with a 46% divorce rate. At the top of the list stand Luxembourg (87%) followed by Spain (65%), France (55%), Russia (51%) and then the United States of America (46%). The countries that have the least divorce rate include India (1%), Chile (3%), Colombia (9%) so on and so forth. Along with this piece of data, another data justifies the relatively high divorce rates of the United States of America that is, the divorce rates of various major religions in which Christian top the charts with 37% divorce rates followed by Buddhist (30%), Jewish (28%), Islamic (20%) and Hindu (2%). Since, the United States of America is the home to approximately 240 million Christian, the largest population of Christian in a country that makes up almost 62.5% the total population of the United States of America. Hence, this clearly puts more light and logic in the fact that the United States of America has a relatively high divorce rate.

Therefore, the hideous practice of marriage, divorce, and repeat sets up the society for a truckload of unwanted stress and negativity that has large scale implications on the coming generations and the society. Moving forward, more practical and thoughtful decisions regarding marriage needs to be given more value as this doctrine of divorce needs to be curbed for moving forward with positivity. 

A well-planned marriage will last for more than a lifetime and will provide the love and respect everyone deserves. Divorce is a serious issue with major implications for spouses, children and the society at large. If we do not prepare our young Americans for marriage and help couples to stay together we will be building trouble for our society and children. Therefore, a new direction needs to be adopted while going forward and partners need to be more carefully chosen. The United States of America needs to work on educating the youth about proper marriages and needs to take serious actions regarding the high divorce rates. The divorce rates have considerably declined over the past decades but there is a long path ahead to be covered to reduce the divorce rates even more.

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When you need legal help for a divorce in Utah, please call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

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