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The divorce rate is declining, but only for some demographics

It’s common to hear someone say that half of all marriages end in divorce. In Illinois and around the country, it is true that many couples find themselves battling over issues such as property division or child custody. However, experts say that not only has the number of divorces started to decline, but marriages in general are stronger now than they have been in years past. Yet those changes seem to be specific to only couples with a specific background.

A University of Michigan economist reports that people who got married in the 2000s are divorcing at lower rates than couples in decades past. The trend indicates that, should the numbers continue in this fashion, roughly two-thirds of married couples will never get divorced. 

The data indicates that that divorce is declining among those who hold college degrees, as the rates are higher among people who have less formal education. One sociologist explains that the difference between the degree-holders and the others may be that the financial struggles can take a toll on marriage. People whose highest level of education is high school may struggle to find work, and tough economic times can strain the relationship. Additionally, a marriage therapist reports that women initiate the majority of divorce, which reflects a change in women’s expectations of marriage.

When looking at the overall decline, experts suggest that birth control and later marriages explain the trend. Additionally, more people are marrying for love as opposed to other reasons. Lastly, fewer people are getting married, specifically the people who are classified as having a higher risk of divorce. Anyone who is contemplating a separation regardless of the cause should consult with an attorney.

Source: The New York Times, “The Divorce Surge is Over, but the Myth Lives On,” Claire Cain Miller, Dec. 2, 2014

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