Divorce Rates: Are 50% Of Marriage Ending In Divorce?

Is it true that most marriages will end in divorce? We have all heard the statistic that more than half of all marriages will end in divorce; however, is this true or an urban legend? In 2010, Paul Amato published a review of research on divorce in the prestigious Journal of Marriage and Family. Mr. Amato said:

“At the end of the 20th century, 43% to 46% of marriages were predicted to end in dissolution. Because a small percentage of marriages end in permanent separation rather than divorce, the common belief that about half of all marriages are voluntarily disrupted is a reasonable approximation.”

However, in 2014, Claire Cain Miller, writing in the New York Times, said, “It is no longer true that the divorce rate is rising, or that half of all marriages end in divorce. It has not been for some time.” Interestingly, some researchers have found that the rate of divorce in the U.S. actually peaked at about 40% around 1980 and has been declining ever since.  So, with different sets of opinions what is the real answer to the question, “What is the divorce rate?”

The problem with answering this question is gathering the date required to answer this question.  A study is only as good as the data gathered and how the date is reported.    Also, the rate of divorce is different for different demographics.  College educated people divorce less than non-college-educated people. Baby boomers divorce at a rate higher than other age groups. However, if you are to believe the CDC/NCHCS (Centers for Disease Control and National Center for Health Statistics), the rate of divorce per 1000 people is decreasing steadily since 2000 from 4,0 per 1,000 people to 3.2 per 1,000 people in 2016.

So, what is the takeaway?  People are still divorcing.  I just don’t think it is a high as 50% of the population.

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