The U.S. Divorce Rate Is Falling According To Recent Analysis, But Why?
The millennial generation is once again showing that they are not like their elders. They are staying married! According to an analysis conducted by Professor Philip Cohen, a sociology professor at the University of Maryland, from 2008 to 2016, the divorce rate has dropped 18 percent.
Generation X and millennials are not following the same path as their elders. The older generations tended to marry younger, then get divorced, and then often remarry. The younger generations are being more selective about choosing a mate, and are getting married at an older age. They have decided that getting their education completed, establishing a career and obtaining financial stability is a priority before taking those vows. Demographers have been addressing why the divorce rate is falling and what this news means for current newlyweds.
One possibility is that older couples who decide to commit to a marriage are not as likely to get a divorce. However the marriage rate has also decreased in the last few decades. Cohen is calculating divorce rate as “ratio of divorces to the total number of married women”. The decline in the divorce rate is not due to a decline in the number of marriages, but it is a testimony to the fact that marriages today are more likely to last as compared to marriages from ten years ago.
Baby boomers are helping the younger generation receive the credit for not having as many divorces, because the Baby boomer generation’s divorce rate is high. The Bowling Green National Center for Family and Marriage Research reports that boomers are seeking divorces at a higher rate than generations before them. Baby boomers have continued to divorce even in their 60’s and 70’s. As a matter of fact the divorce rate for Americans 65 and older has even tripled!
Marriage Becoming An Exclusive Institution?
The millennial generation does not appear to be following the trend as set by their parents. Cohen cites that the folks getting married now are older and more educated. Also because not as many people are getting married, their likelihood of getting a divorce lessens. He theorizes that “Marriage is more and more an achievement of status, rather that something that people do regardless of how they’re doing.”
It is also worth noting that less educated Americans with not as much financial stability are not marrying at all. Instead, they often cohabitate and raise children, but do not marry. Cohen sees that fewer divorces are a sign of “America’s widening chasm of inequality.” While on the one hand marriages are becoming more durable, it appears that marriage is also becoming an exclusive institution.
We will continue to keep our readers of the Ohio Family Law Blog posted on these divorce trends.
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Robert L. Mues
Robert Mues is the managing partner of Dayton, Ohio, law firm, Holzfaster, Cecil, McKnight & Mues, and has received the highest rating from the Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review for Ethical Standards and Legal Ability. Mr. Mues is also a founding member of the "International Academy of Attorneys for Divorce over 50" blog. Mr. Mues has also been a dog owner for 55+ years, and just recently, he and his wife are the owners of "Ralph", a rescued mixed Wire Hair and Jack Russell Terrier.