The media would have you believe that half of all marriages end in divorce, and that the state of marriages is a bleak one for Americans. But, this is a misconception. The truth is that marriages in the United States have never been stronger. New divorce statistics show that the divorce rate in this country has not been lower, since the 1960s. Current divorce stats also give evidence that marriages are happier and more progressive, thanks to modern expectations of what it means to be a spouse.
When people do get divorced, new data even shows that people are doing it for the right reasons. One study has done something that few researchers have ever been able to do — discovering real, solid evidence of the existence of love.
Half of All Marriages Do Not End in Divorce
Let me repeat that … half of all marriages do NOT end in divorce! Researchers have repeatedly been able to show that rates of divorce have actually slowed significantly since the 1970s and 80s, when divorce rates skyrocketed. Yet, for some reason, we constantly hear from the media and in everyday life that 50 percent of marriages end in divorce.
In fact, there is even evidence to suggest that divorce will slow even more in coming years, according to the New York Times. The divorce rate is especially low in college-educated spouses married in the 2000s, and with more and more young people getting their degrees, this could mean even less divorce in coming years. If the current trend continues at the same pace, only about one-third of marriages will end in divorce.
Some of the potential reasons for this slow in the rate of divorce is because of changes in societal expectations like marrying young. With couples marrying later in life, for example, the divorce rate tends to drop. Also, with a change in the perception of single parents (being more accepted than in previous decades), there is less pressure to marry as a result of pregnancy, or less “shotgun weddings,” than ever before.
Couples Who Separate Do It for the Right Reasons
Researches believe that divorce rates in the 70s and 80s were as high as they were because of social changes in society. For instance, a strong feminist movement played a big role in the way women viewed their role in a marriage. Divorce rates have slowed over the years as married couples adjust to social changes and shared responsibilities.
Today, couples are very good at knowing when a divorce is necessary and when it would be best to stay together. Research shows that couples are splitting up at nearly ideal rates.
“In this study, we demonstrate … how due to caring about each other, couples already are selecting divorces in a way that is quite close to optimal,” University of Virginia Steven Stern said.
Possibly the most interesting part of this study by UVA economists is that is has actually shown scientific evidence for the existence of love.
“The idea of love here is that you get some happiness from your spouse simply being happy,” Friedberg said. “For instance, I might agree to do more house chores, which reduces my personal happiness somewhat, but I get some offsetting happiness simply knowing that my partner benefits.”
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