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What Are The Factors That Affect The Divorce Rates In The United States?

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Divorce is a legal dissolution of marriage. This has significant impacts on the entire family and close relatives. Despite the studies that describe a fall in the divorce rates, demographic reports state otherwise. A demographic study performed by Sheela Kennedy and Steven Ruggles in the Univer-sity of Minnesota (2014), coveys that “divorce rate in the States hasn’t declined since 1980.” How-ever, an integral part of the study is that it elaborately reveals the age groups in which divorce rates have hit their peak. The age-standardised divorce rate has indicated more than a 35% increase, re-veals Washington Post. It further develops that 44% of the American population is divorced, that has now elevated to 46%. The American Psychological Association discloses that 90% of the peo-ple in Western culture, get married by the age of 50. Though about 40 to 50 % of these end in di-vorces. A study conducted by the US Census Bureau in 2018, proclaims that 48, 535 families in the USA (in the year 2017) had no children, almost double the families with one or more children. This piece of information was astonishing as it contradicted my ideas of a greater population being a part of nuclear families. This inspired me to dig deeper and find out whether the type of family influences the decision of divorce. I also wanted to explore the impact of different cultures and ethnicities on a country’s divorce rate.

Global perspective

Asians significantly hold the lowest divorce rates with only 10 out of 1000 marriages failing to work (source: Science Daily~ 2011). It is regarded that approximately 6.5% of the world’s popula-tion is involved in an arranged marriage. About 90% of the weddings that take place in India are arranged. As a result, India’s divorce rate (1 out of 1000 marriages end, reveals the Economist in 2014) is significantly low. Huffington post-Canada sheds light on reasons why divorce rate among Asians is low, especially South Asians. The 2014 article reveals a Pakistani woman, Samia Sheikh, immigrated to Canada in 1998 terrified to leave her marriage due to family pressure. Dhara Thakar, a Chicago researcher in the Department of Human Development states divorces to be considered ‘taboo’ in the Asian community. This further enhances the study as Dhara, the journalist, herself is originally from Asia.

On the contrary, the assumptions insinuating western communities to hold high divorce rates, the number of failed marriages has plummeted to 2 among every 1000 people in Australia. The Aus-tralian government considers this to be the least amount of failed marriages since 1975. The signifi-cance of this year was the introduction of the ‘No Fault Act’. Watts McCray Lawyers explain the act to be a way to ensure stability and to instigate a calmer transition for the couple and the kids if there are any present. Furthermore, the act enables a couple to get a divorce by just proving their separation for 12 months however, there is to be no accusation on just one member of the relation-ship. The country has maintained its annual divorce rate per year of 1.9%. The Australian Bureau of Statistics credit this downfall to the increase in the percentage of the population living together and opening them to real-life situations before marriage, from 16% in 1975 to 80% in 2016. This is a reflection of the smart choices taken by Australian couples, the number of divorce rates has de-creased from 52,466 to 46,604 in 2016 since the approval of the ‘No Fault Act’. The award-winning social researcher and influencer, Mark McCrindle reveals to the Daily Mail, that approximately 326 couples tie the knot each day in Australia. He goes on to state that the population of Australia has nearly doubled in that last 40 years: from 13.89 million people in 1975 to 25 million in 2018, yet the number of divorces has declined.

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National perspective

The Washington proclaimed that about 69% of the time, it is the women who initiate the divorce (USA). Despite being the ones to end the marriage, only 52% of the women remarry, compared to 64% of the opposite gender, claims the demographic report conducted by Pew Research Center in 2014. The research further develops to state that people of the White race have the highest tenden-cy to remarry compared to other ethnicities with 6 out of 10 previously married adults consulting in second marriages. These second marriages have a higher rate of divorce- 66%. The Statista investi-gated the families after divorces and discovered that 14000 kids at the age of 1, reside with their single father (2018). Around 4 million kids live with a stepparent in their homes encompassing 5 percent of the divorced American population. The rest 45% live with their single biological moth-ers. The US Bureau of Census (2016) claims 41% of the kids with single parents to lead into depre-ciating and deteriorating behaviour and only 45% are expected to succeed. E. Mavis Hetherington (psychologist) however argues this study conducted by Judith Wallerstein. His research is reliable as it was held over a large population approximately 2500 people in the time span of 2 years. Heth-erington dives into the positive aspects of a divorce. He emphasises that 25% of the kids face trau-ma following their parents’ split but compares it to 10% of the kids facing depression despite being a part of intact families. He describes the difference to not be ‘major’. 70% of the children from adult families conform to divorce as a viable option if it puts an end to a diminishing marriage. Marquardt, who works with the Institute of American Values, supports Wallerstein’s study and sug-gests a conclusion from her own study of adults ranging from 18 to 35, from which half’s parents were divorced. She said that the kids are never able to overcome the “cataclysmic” issues, not faced by intact families. Approximately, 30 million kids (up to age 13) live with a biological parent and their other partner. These studies identify the impacts a split can inflict upon members of an American household.

Local perspective

A Mormon news article explores the beliefs that guide the lives of Mormons. They are a religious group of people whose lives are governed by the rules of Christianity stated in the Bible. ‘’, acclaims that marriages can last forever is a concept mentioned in the Bible and is a prin-cipal the Mormons are not allowed to break, “whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven” (the Bible). Utah is a state of residency for most of these inhabitants and the place is high-ly condensed with a Mormon population of 51.41%. posted a video released in 2018 highlighting the Mormon beliefs. However, the source can be considered biased as the creators are followers of the practice. In 1852, the LDS church situated in Utah declared their practice of polyg-amy, however, were soon banned by the US law which believes in monogamy. Reuters’ 2013 arti-cle expands on the believers of the religion continuing polygamy, regardless of being illegal in all 50 states. People in the Utah stress it is their ‘personal choice’. The Utah Attorney General’s office has prohibited polygamy and limits marriage to one spouse. The enforced rules had an impact on Utah’s divorce rate. There has been a rise from 9.1% to 10.3%, mentions NBC in their 2012 re-search. Although, the reduced increase suggests practitioners of having more than one partner.

Possible solutions

CNN’s health department investigated what causes a marriage to last longer and the impacts it has on a country’s divorce rate. The article written by Baer, on 7th November 2017 provides an insight into factors contributing towards successful marriages. The article considers age to be of an im-portant factor. The later one marries, the higher the chance the couple has to stay together. With reference to a psychology specialist, Justin Lehmiller, the article reveals education to be an im-portant factor. Women with bachelorette degrees contribute to 78% of global marriages lasting over than 20 years in comparison to only 41% with high school degrees. Similarly, the same pattern fol-lowed by men with 67% and 47% respectively. The article mentions religion as part of a reason however, I believe it is dependent upon the couple. Therapy is considered a viable option by psy-chologytoday as it provides a platform of hope for the partners to work on their marriage. There also steps that a government of the country can take to improve the divorce rates, as there are ex-ternal factors that contribute to failing marriages. The government can try to eliminate these con-tributing factors. Investopedia finds a correlation between divorce rates and a country’s economic growth. When the divorce rate increases the economic growth gets adversely affected. The 2012 article holds BusinessDaily’s research to consideration when accusing divorce to being able to ‘wreak havoc’, to a country’s economy. This stresses the need for the government’s vested interest. Studies conducted by the Atlantic over the recent years, Gottman, a marital expert suggests that the steps that can be taken by people other than the couple themselves can only include interventions and education of happy marriages. Spreading the notion of happiness and well-built relationships might uplift the atmosphere surrounding a couple facing issues. However, it is necessary to create a comforting surrounding where couples can feel accepted despite the issues they might face. This will allow for better communication. As a result, couples will resort to divorce as a last option. If a couple is a part of a nuclear family or a joint family, it would be better if the rest of the members are kept into consideration as they can be inflicted with trauma or depression after the couples’ split. However, if a split is acclaimed ‘necessary’ by the couple then a good investment in the chil-dren’s lives by both the partners would be beneficial, states the US Bureau of Census.

Conclusion/ Personal perspective

According to me, if people were forced to make their marriage work despite being given the free-dom of leaving a committed relationship at any point, they would consider trying and reinvesting into their relationship. The Australian Government’s No-Fault Act is an example of this procedure. There also factors regarding stability such as one’s income and education that raise the stakes of a well-functioning marriage. I think marriage comes with maturity and age and an educated couple has lower stakes of splitting up which was researched to be only of 30% (couples who are 25 and above- Psych Central, 2018).

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What Are The Factors That Affect The Divorce Rates In The United States? (2022, February 24). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 10, 2023, from
“What Are The Factors That Affect The Divorce Rates In The United States?” Edubirdie, 24 Feb. 2022,
What Are The Factors That Affect The Divorce Rates In The United States? [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 10 Jun. 2023].
What Are The Factors That Affect The Divorce Rates In The United States? [Internet] Edubirdie. 2022 Feb 24 [cited 2023 Jun 10]. Available from:
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