Society has long held on to the incorrect belief that half of all first marriages end in divorce. These statistics are based on inaccurate analysis of the marriage and divorce rates per 1,000 people in the United States. A similar incompetent analysis led to the conclusion that 60 percent of all second marriages ended in divorce.
Correct statistics demonstrate that the divorce rate in first marriages peaked at about 40 percent for first marriages around 1980 and have declined to 30 percent in the early 2000s. You might be asking: What is going on? Two important variables: age and income substantially impact marriage and divorce. The studies conclude that: the older the partners and the higher the income, the more likely the couple stays married. The data goes even further: for college educated women who tie the knot after the age of 25 and have an independent source of income, the divorce rate is only 20 percent! Elements that contribute to divorce include early marriage, early pregnancy and early divorce. This is a vicious generational cycle of broken families that contributes significantly to maintaining poverty.
In addition, research suggests that about 10 percent of all marriages end in divorce during the first five years and another 10 percent by the tenth year. Hence, half of all divorces are within the first ten years. Also, the 30 percent divorce rate becomes more common during the 18th year of marriage and the 40 percent rate at the 50th year of marriage. This may be because some couples wait to divorce until their children leave the nest. Interestingly, the divorce rate in Massachusetts is the lowest in the country. The likely cause is that Massachusetts has the highest percentage of college graduates.
The myth of divorce rate may also lead individuals to not take their commitment as seriously, as it may be seen as a chance factor if half of all couples end in divorce. It may also contribute to the increase in cohabitation as individuals may be afraid of the permanence of marriage and dealing with the loss of divorce. If couples cohabitate and have children, there is an increase that the children will not be raised by both parents. Divorce can have a devastating impact on families. To prevent the the disillusion of the institution of marriage, it is vital that we debunk the myth of the divorce rate. It is also helpful to outline the important factors that help improve the longevity of marriage as well. Education and income. Stable families have an easier time dealing with the inevitable stressors of family life. Having a strong foundation makes it easier to weather the storms and grow stronger as a unit. As any relationship, marriage entails work. Nonetheless, there are great benefits to this wonderful institution.
Source: KALMAN HELLER, PHD
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