The Urban Legend of the 50% Divorce Rate
Just about everyone has heard the often repeated statement that 50% of most marriages wrap up in divorce. This “fact” gets transmitted from one media “source” to some other without anyone ever checking its original source. So we made a decision to check with the ultimate authority on everything demographic: The Unite States Census Bureau.
Typical of statements repeated in the media often, the 50% number can be an oversimplification that will not start to share with the top story about divorce rates. You will find a lot more interesting figures that reveal the way the divorce rate has changed in the decades and suggest the reason why for his or her changes. But first, to comprehend the problems around divorce rates we have to answer this question:
What is a Divorce Rate?
Exactly what does it mean to state that some percent of marriages “turn out” in divorce?
People stay married for most decades. Some get divorced at twelve months, five years, fifteen years or sixty years following the marriage even. Plus some die married. Therefore, we only know the rate of which marriages conclude in divorce for folks who married far back enough before for most of them to have previously died.
But we can also focus on a far more recent cohort of folks who married on a single year and estimate the divorce rate of the rest of the marriages on the last available year of the data. The newer the cohort of marriages, the longer and less reliable is the estimated period.
Or we can state divorce rates by a given loved-one’s birthday, such as “35% by the 25th anniversary”. This enables us to compare divorce rates between people who married on different years by the same standard.
A divorce rate alone, without:
stating the entire year of the marriages,
qualifying it by the anniversary when the divorce rate was calculated and
mentioning whether it’s a genuine or estimated rate
is a meaningless number
May be the Divorce Rate Rising or Falling?
It might be foolish to anticipate that divorce rates have been at the same 50% for most decades. Few things relating to human behavior stays the same for lengthy. So we have to do our better to understand if the divorce rate has been rising or falling over the last few decades.
The next article published by the Census Bureau sheds some light on the direction of the divorce rates:
Rose M. Renee and kreider Ellis, “Number, Timing, and Duration of Marriages and Divorces: 2009, Household Economic Studies, May 2011”, Current Population Reports.
The data because of this Census Bureau article was predicated on a survey of over 39,000 households given in ’09 2009 to 55,597 adults which were married at some right amount of time in their lives. Here are some summarizes some important facts out of this article:
With the 35th anniversary, the survival rate of marriages fell form 62.10% for the cohort of men married between 1960 and 64, to 57.90% for the 1965-69 cohort. With the 25th anniversary, those survival rates fell from 66.90% for the 1960-64 cohort to only 54.40% fort he 1975-79 cohort. There is also a drop in the 10th anniversary survival rates of 10 percentage points between your same two cohorts (which is equivalent to a growth of 10 percentage points in divorce rates).
After 1974, the marriage survival rates are too close for the cohort-to-cohort changes to be significant together. But, for men, the tenth anniversary survival rate rose from the low of 73 gradually.40% for the 1975-79 cohort to 77.30% for the 1990-94 cohort.
Generally, what we realize out of this study would be that the men’s marriage survival rates, of the 10th to 25th anniversaries plunged by about 12 percentage points between your 1960-64 and the 1975-79 cohorts. Then their survival rate at the 10th anniversary rose by about four percentage points between your 1975-79 and the 1990-94 cohort.
The women’s marriage survival rates are usually lower and they’re much less far apart between cohorts. However they tell the same story about when they fell so when they later partially recovered.
If you believe about it, something looks wrong with the info when the marriage survival rates of people are different. So far as we know there have been no same-sex marriages, polygamy or polyandry in the U . S prior to the year 2009, so all marriages were of 1 man to 1 woman. If they get divorced, both marriage partners count as divorced on a single year. Therefore, if a report were to check out through their lives an example of couples who married on a single year, the marriage survival rates (and the divorce rates) should be the same for husbands and wives on every year following the marriage.
But such a report would be lengthy and expensive, which explains why this study was predicated on interviews with 55,597 people in over 39,000 households in ’09 2009. Since divorced people are incredibly unlikely to be surviving in the same households, the former husbands of the divorced women interviewed (and the former wives of the divorced men) were most unlikely to maintain the sample. Consequently, the divorce dates and total divorce rates of the ladies are unrelated to the people of the men. That is why the men’s and women’s divorce rates differ.
Another thing to keep in mind about this scholarly study is that it sampled people who were moving into 2009, not on the entire year they married. Therefore, both divorced and married people who died before 2009 weren’t counted. Since married people live just a little longer than single people, there may be hook bias towards higher marriage survival rates, but nothing large enough to improve any conclusions about how precisely they changed.