The title — “Number, Timing and Duration of Marriages and Divorces: 2009” — seems to promise more of a labored walk through a statistic-heavy forest than it does the presentation of a thought-provoking narrative concerning marriage and divorce trends over time in America.
The report, though, which was released recently and bases its findings and conclusions on Census Bureau data compiled over several decades, is replete with interesting information about American mindsets and changing demographics.
Here’s just one tidbit: The correlation between slightly lower divorce rates presently (except, interestingly, for women aged 60 – 69) as compared to the rates of 30 years ago — when divorce rates peaked in the United States — may owe centrally to tighter social controls at that time that more heavily discouraged live-in relationships prior to marriage. As a result, couples married at a younger age in past decades than they do now. Couples who marry at very young ages have a comparatively high divorce rate, as readily borne out by census statistics.
Moreover, the greater ease in delaying marriage currently equates to more couples attaining higher educational levels, securing more savings and becoming more grounded in their careers and professional lives prior to getting married, which all contribute to enhanced stability.
Researchers also say that, over the course of a generation, America has grown more accustomed to both married partners being engaged in the workplace, which was not the case when women first began entering the workforce in large numbers in the 1950s.
About one third of men and women between the ages of 25 and 29 have never been married.
Related Resource: CNN, “Divorce rates falling, report finds” May 19, 2011