By Robert L. Mues   |   December 19th, 2020

Divorce Rate In The US Continues To Drop Amidst Covid Pandemic

divorce rate marriage pandemicThe American Community Survey data released from the census Bureau recently revealed that the divorce rate in the USA has hit a record low. According to the data, 14.9 out of every 1000 marriages ended in divorce which is the lowest rate in 50 years. It is projected, that even though we are in the midst of the pandemic, the drop of divorces is likely to continue. Lower divorce rates translate to longer marriages. The new Census Data, reports that the average marriage length has increased almost one year in the recent decade. In 2010 the mediation duration was 19 years, and the length has increased to 19.8 years in 2019.

Journalists have speculated that there is a rise in divorce as a result of the pandemic, and there have been many headlines declaring it true. However according to Brad Wilcox, a University of Virginia sociology professor and the director of the National Marriage Project at the university, this is simply not true. He was recently interviewed by UVA Today. Wilcox believes that the pandemic may have given spouses a new appreciation for their spouse. It has made many couples realize how much they depend on their spouse. He acknowledges that according to data about 1/3 of couples have gone through traumatic stress, between death of loved ones, job losses, homeschooling, economic hardships and all the implications of Covid.

Adversity Leads To Stronger Marriage During Pandemic

He says that 4 out of 5 states reporting divorce in real time, including Oregon, Rhode Island, Florida, Missouri and Arizona show that divorce rates have fallen. Wilcox does acknowledge that some of the decline in divorce rates could be due to the fact that during these times it may be difficult for couples to get divorced. However, he thinks couples are seeing the merits of staying in the marriage.

Wilcox and his colleague Lyman Stone wrote in the Washington Post, “Tough and traumatic times can change our priorities, our perspective and our devotion to friends and family for the better.” As he credits Jonathan Haidt a former psychology professor at UVA as saying, “adversity is more likely to lead to growth, strength, joy and self-improvement rather than the opposite.” This time of adversity has brought many couples a greater appreciation for their spouse. During this time, many couples are realizing how much they depend on each other to help out, whether it is helping the kids with on-line learning, helping out with elderly parents, running errands, etc. The craziness of the pandemic  actually is making many couple’s marriage stronger.

Wilcox does believe in 2021 there will be a spike in divorces due to the fact that the pandemic has made it difficult for some to be able to go through the process. However, he predicts that there will be a decline in the divorce rate  similarly as we saw in the Great Recession. Since the Great Recession, divorce rate has fallen by 20%. He believes it is due to the fact that people are seeing the world as an increasingly insecure place and they are being more cautious about leaving their marriage.

Marriage Rate Decline

Wilcox has also pointed out some other negative facts about marriage due to Covid19. The marriage rate has been decreasing and it seems that trend will continue. It certainly has limited opportunities and the ability for people to meet new people. Also, the working class and poor have been hit hardest by Covid and they are simply not getting married citing economic reasons.

There is good news for marriages in the U.S. even in this pandemic time. Wilcox believes that one’s network of family, friends, and your core values are huge factors to a successful marriage. Native Americans have some of the lowest rates of divorce in the United States because they come from a culture that values family ties and stability.” Many Americans are not aware that the divorce risk is well below one-in-two when it comes to our own marriage’s risk of ending in divorce. And that the share of kids being raised in stable, two-parent families is ticking up. And there are plenty of couples doing well, or well enough, at marriage.”

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About The Author: Robert L. Mues
Attorney Robert "Chip" Mues has been focusing his legal practice throughout Southwest Ohio primarily in divorce and family law matters since 1978. Chip is passionate about family law and has proudly published the Ohio Family Law Blog since 2007. In addition, he is the managing partner of Holzfaster, Cecil, McKnight & Mues. To learn more about him or the law firm, visit the firm's website at www.hcmmlaw.com. Appointments are available in person, over the phone or by Zoom. Call us at 937 293-2141.

Has the US Divorce Rate Dropped to an All Time Low?
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