It is a common saying that 50% of all marriages end in divorce. Although that may have been the case at some point, that statistic is outdated, at least for the USA. As the country’s demographics and economics change, along with views about marriage versus cohabitation, the divorce rate appears lower.
What is the Divorce Rate in America?
The divorce rate in the USA is 2.9 per 1,000 people according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2017 data. Of course, the CDC’s findings have certain limits, for instance, only 45 states and D.C. record sufficient marriage and divorce figures to enter the report. Some of the states that were excluded take up a huge portion of the population. However, if you want to put a figure on the number of American divorces, the CDC report provides a rough estimate.
While no age group is experiencing a rise in the rates of divorce, the decline has been linked to Millennials. Cohen, who hails from the University of Maryland, notes that millennials wait longer to get married. And when they do get married they are more established and stable, which leads to fewer risks for divorce.
The baby boomer generation (people born between 1946 and 1964) is very prone to divorce. That’s primarily because they generally married while young, which is one of the biggest contributors to the risk of divorce. But the divorce rate among baby boomers shows a steady trend.
- Another worthwhile figure is the 18% drop in divorce rates between 2008 and 2016 according to Philip N. Cohen’s research. Even after adjusting for demographic shifts, such as the age when people enter marriage, Cohen still found an 8% decrease.
- It’s also worth noting that the number of cohabiting partners in the United Staes in on the rise. The number of U.S. adults living with an unmarried partner saw a 29% increase between 2007 and 2016.
The Divorces are decreasing, and so are the Marriages
Yes, the reduction in divorces and rise in secure relationships are excellent things. However, Cohen points out that not everything is going well. Divorce numbers are declining, but marriage figures are too, and at times it’s not by choice. Philip N. Cohen believes that people are becoming more selective when deciding to get married, at least when it comes to demographic and socioeconomic characteristics. Marriage seems more solid for those who are usually at high economic independence levels.
For everyone else, marriage may be a stretch. The trends described by Cohen represent progress toward a system where marriage is rarer but more stable than it was previously. The lower number of marriages means there are fewer marriages to dissolve. Marriage has become more of a status symbol than a necessity and it’s more likely to be an end goal after people complete college and earn good jobs. Reasons for reducing the likelihood of divorce include:
- those who receive a higher education
- are older aged when married
- lower-order marriage
Poorer couples have a higher likelihood of entering marriage in hopes of better financial stability. The end result of such an arrangement is more pressure on the marriage. However, college graduates are less likely to view marriage as a way to gain financial stability, and they are more likely to prefer independence.