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Published On: Thu, Jun 18th, 2015

US Divorce Rate is Falling and Why It Can Be Bad Thing

It may not be common knowledge, but the United States has one of the lowest numbers of divorces in comparison to other countries. According to the UN’s Demographics and Social Statistics Division, compared to countries like Belgium (which has the highest), France, Cuba, and Spain, the United States only has 53 percent of marriages resulting in divorce. Within the United States, Nevada has the highest percentage at 13.9.

Whether or not these numbers come as a surprise to you, the myth that the US divorce rate is going up continues to perpetuate.

However, the truth is that the divorce rate in the US has been on a steady decline from the 1980s to 2010. Since then, the divorce rate has been relatively stable.

Taken at face value, this is a good thing. But, if you dig deeper into the reasons the divorce rate is falling, it may actually be a bad thing for Americans.

photo Koshy Koshy

photo Koshy Koshy

One reason that the divorce rate has gone down is that fewer Americans are getting married. For a country that has traditionally held the family as the cornerstone of society, this is not a positive thing. The Pew Research Center states that, “in 2012, one-in-five adults ages 25 and older (about 42 million people) had never been married”. With fewer marriages, it follows that there is a lower chance of divorce.

Following this line of reasoning, fewer marriages can also mean more couples cohabitating. This means they live together and have children without legalities of marriage involved. How can this be bad?

Studies show that cohabitating relationships are more likely to disintegrate than marriages, leading to higher chances of children suffering from its consequences. Some of these consequences include a higher risk of poverty, problems in school (or not finishing at all), and even going to jail at some point. If this is not a case against divorce rates falling, then we are in trouble!

Another troublesome reason for lower divorce rates is the concept that people don’t get a divorce because they don’t want to, or they can’t get one, even if they should.

Should is a relative word, to be sure, but one factor that cannot be overlooked is ethnic background. For some immigrants from other, more conservative countries, divorce is still considered taboo.

Take for example the story of an Indian woman named Chitra (name changed), as told by Sharadha Bain in The Washington Post. She and her husband were married in India but now live in the US. Pre-marriage, everything was bliss. After the ceremony, things took a turn for the worst. From being hostile to being controlling to problems with alcoholism – her husband’s behavior could have been grounds for divorce. But Chitra couldn’t file for one because it would be an admission of failure based on her culture, and that is unacceptable for her and her family.

You may say that this is limited to couples of different ethnicity, but they, too, are part of the American society!

Just as dismaying is the plight of women abused by their husbands and still stay in the relationship. They suffer – and continue to suffer – and yet refuse to leave in spite of everyone telling them to do so. This also results in divorce rates.

Considering all of the above, it is but right to look deeper into sweeping statements like “there are fewer divorces, and that is a good thing”.

Guest Author: Lolita Di

About the Author

- Outside contributors to the Dispatch are always welcome to offer their unique voices, contradictory opinions or presentation of information not included on the site.

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  1. Marriage Divorce Rate France | Barbara A King says:

    […] US Divorce Rate is Falling and Why It Can Be Bad Thing – According to the UN’s Demographics and Social Statistics Division, compared to countries like Belgium (which has the highest), France, Cuba, and Spain, the United States only has 53 percent of marriages resulting in divorce. Within the United States … […]

  2. United States Divorce Demographics | Simple Barbara A King says:

    […] US Divorce Rate is Falling and Why It Can Be Bad Thing – … the UN’s Demographics and Social Statistics Division, compared to countries like Belgium (which has the highest), France, Cuba, and Spain, the United States only has 53 percent of marriages resulting in divorce. Within the United States, Nevada has … […]

  3. 2010 Us Divorce Percentages | 16 Bit Radio says:

    […] US Divorce Rate is Falling and Why It Can Be Bad Thing – It may not be common knowledge, but the United States has one of the lowest numbers of divorces in comparison to other countries. According to the UN’s Demographics and Social Statistics … from the 1980s to 2010. Since then, the divorce rate has … […]

  4. Divorce Rate In India 2014 | World Lawyers says:

    […] US Divorce Rate is Falling and Why It Can Be Bad Thing – According to the UN’s Demographics and Social Statistics Division … more conservative countries, divorce is still considered taboo. Take for example the story of an Indian woman named Chitra (name changed), as told by Sharadha Bain in The Washington … […]

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