The divorce rate in the United States has fallen for the third consecutive, falling to its lowest level in more than 35 years, according to statistics released yesterday.
“The decline has stopped,” said Wendy Manning, co-director of the National Center for Family & Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University.
Manning and colleagues at the National Center for Family and Marriage Research conduct an annual review of census data to get a better idea of the marriage and divorce rates in America. According to this year’s statistics, the divorce rate as fallen to 16.9 percent, down from 17.6 percent in 2014 and a peak of 23 percent in 1980. Additionally, marriage rates are on the rise, as there were 32.3 marriages for every 1,000 unmarried women over the age of 15, up from 31.9 in 2014. This was also the highest rate since 2009.
Other findings from the census collection include:
- Washington D.C. and Wyoming had the highest divorce rates at 29.9 percent and 27.9 percent, followed by Nevada, Arkansas and Alaska.
- The states with the lowest divorce rates are Hawaii, Wisconsin, Rhode Island, Delaware and New Jersey.
- The northeastern U.S. had the lowest marriage rates in the country, while Utah, not surprisingly, had the highest rate.
Researchers didn’t know exactly why the divorce rate is on the decline, but they have a few theories:
- Aging of the US population
- Changing gender roles
- Fewer marriages to break up in the first place (despite the rise in marriages this year).
Researchers also stated that although divorce rates have reached a 35-year low, that doesn’t mean that any particular marriage is more likely to last. They say we won’t really have an idea of how the current generations view marriage and divorce until they get older, and they point to Baby Boomers as an example. Baby Boomers married young, and have continued marrying and divorcing at older ages than in years past. It’s uncertain if Millennials or Gen X-ers will follow suit, but one thing is clear is that the current generation is putting off marriage until later in life.
“We’ve seen a decline of divorce among people who are younger and an increase among people who are older,” Manning said.
We’re happy to hear that divorce rates are dropping in the U.S. It may be a little less business for our Family Law sector, but at the end of the day we are in the business of helping people navigate difficult and complicated situations, and if the data is suggesting that less people are going through these potentially stressful situations, that’s wonderful news. However, if you do need our services, for a divorce, child custody or spousal maintenance issue, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us for a free strategy session.