Why Are Divorce Rates Declining?

A couple of decades ago, the average divorce rate was right around 50% for first marriages. In other words, if you got married, your chances of that marriage ending in divorce were about 50%. Obviously, an average means that some communities see divorce at a higher rate, while some see it at a lower rate. In more recent years, however, the overall rate of divorce in the U.S. has declined. Numerous researchers have addressed this topic and have attempted to determine the reason for the declining divorce rate in the country.

A recent study conducted at the University of Maryland reveals that there are many different factors contributing to the declining divorce rate, but in general, "marriage is becoming more selective, and more stable, even as attitudes toward divorce are becoming more permissive, and cohabitation has grown less stable." We want to say more about this study and what it can tell us about divorce in Michigan.

Divorce Rate Has Dropped More Than 20% in the Last Decade

Over the last 10 years, the study reports, the divorce rate has dropped by 21%. That number looks very large, but it is also important to take into account that "the sample changed over the period." As Philip N. Cohen, the author of the study, explained, the mean age at which a person got married increased significantly, while the mean years of marriage also rose.

In other words, fewer people are getting divorced, but other factors have shifted, too. Most notably, fewer people are getting married.

What Makes Your Odds of Divorce Lower?

According to Cohen's analysis, the following are all factors associated with lower odds of divorce:

  • Increased age (the older you are, the less likely you are to get divorced);

  • Duration of the marriage (the longer your marriage has lasted, the less likely that it will end in divorce);

  • First marriage;

  • Foreign-born (people born outside the U.S. are less likely to get divorced);

  • Educational background (more education lowers the likelihood of divorce-the more educated you are, the less likely it is that your marriage will end in divorce); and

  • Race (white and Hispanic people have lower divorce odds).

While these factors still hold true, it is important to note that more older adults are filing for divorce than in previous years. We have come to know this trend under the term "gray divorce," which refers to people aged 60 and older (or, in general, older adults) seeking divorces. More specifically, as divorce rates have fallen significantly for younger women, divorce rates have also risen notably among older women in the U.S.

Marriage rates are also declining, and this is likely to be a factor in divorce rates in the future. Cohen intimates that the younger women who are getting married at much lower rates now may be less likely to get divorced in the future when they are the same age as the Baby Boomers who are now filing for "gray divorce" at much higher degrees.

Contact a Divorce Lawyer in Michigan

If you have questions about divorce, a divorce lawyer in Michigan can assist you. Contact the Law Offices of Michael A. Robbins to get started on your divorce petition.