Don’t look now but the divorce rate, which had been climbing for decades, is starting to decline. While marriage experts don’t have a read on why “till death do we part” has once again become words to live by, the data is undeniable – especially in the U.S. With that in mind, there are five reasons why divorce rates are falling.
- Children of Divorce are More Likely to Remain Committed
As the divorce rate climbed from the 1960’s to the early part of this century, many thought the data pointed to an irreversible trend as the children of divorce where also getting divorced. However, that has started to change and while we’ll need a few more years to determine if this is a temporary shift or something long-term Millennials from divorced families are less likely to get divorced themselves.
There are a few reasons including a falling marriage rate to Millennials getting married later in life. Combined, these factors could lead to a fall in the divorce rate, but as mentioned demographers won’t really know until the next generation (Gen Z or Digital Natives), which is beginning to enter the workforce, reach their late-20’s en masse.
- Marriage has Changed
The concept of marriage has been evolving since the industrial revolution. For a long time, marriages were arranged and then there was the question of dowries and other payments tied to getting hitched. However, this has changed over time, especially as more people married for love.
In addition, the roles of both parties have evolved over time. This is due to several factors including the rise in the number of dual-income households and changing gender roles inside of marriage.
Further note that the change in marriage doesn’t mean divorces have gone the way of the Dodo. In fact, many couples still end up calling off their marriages and if you are in Arkansas or the surrounding states and are considering a divorce yourself, here is some more information on the process – https://www.markreeslaw.com/ar/divorce-lawyer-jonesboro/.
- People are Waiting to Get Married
The impact of this change in marriage cannot be underestimated as it points to the fact that most people entering marriage are not only more mature but also more financially secure. The latter helps to eliminate one of the biggest causes of divorce – money.
However, this development could also be a statistical red herring as people getting married later in life could also lead to people getting divorced later in life; online time will tell.
- More Women are Graduating University
This development also points to a fundamental shift in the labor market as the number of women in many professions has increased dramatically over the past 20-years. What does this mean for marriage? First, even though a gender gap remains, it means that more women are financially independent and second, households with two professionals are less likely to face issues around money as compared to those without.
While this doesn’t mean that every married couple where the husband and wife have college degrees are guaranteed success, it does point to a higher probability that both partners can earn consistently over the course of their careers.
- Fewer People are Getting Married
To get divorced you first need to be married, and the decline in marriage rates is another reason why divorce rates are falling. However, this doesn’t mean that people are not forming families. In fact, cohabitation is on the rise and while this is akin to marriage it is not counted the same way by demographers.
This does not mean that cohabitation is not without its problems. For example, couples who have lived together for a long time might face issues when it comes to dividing assets if they decide to split. In addition, it is harder for unmarried couples to share benefits such as health insurance or death benefits and this could lead to a spike in marriages for financial purposes down the road.
However, the decline in marriage rates has been building for a long time and 2012 marked the first time that unmarried adults outnumbered married adults. Granted, this came on the heels of the financial crisis, but it also points to a broader change in marriage and, by extension, divorce.
While it remains an open question as to whether divorce rates will continue fall, the fact remains that divorce has become less common in recent years and the factors listed above are widely believed to be some of the reasons for this phenomenon.