Item from the Smart Marriages Archive, reproduced in the Divorce Statistics Collection

Oklahoma divorce rates, attitudes, and marriage movement progress

Excerpts from: "Divorce rate stays steady, study shows"
By Bobby Ross Jr. 02/10/2002 The Daily Oklahoman

"Three years after Gov. Frank Keating declared war on the state's
No. 2-in-the-nation divorce rate, ... Oklahoma's number of failed marriages - about 20,000 a year -
has remained fairly steady, state records show. ... For every 100 marriage licenses issued in 2001, the state granted 76 divorce petitions.
[Comment by Diane Sollee -- the Oklahoma PLANNING
grant was funded only 1 year ago; the the first money to train trainers
became available only 6 months ago; that the baseline study was just
completed this week; and the the first marriage education classes for
couples were begun in Jan and Feb 2002. So, of course, the "divorce rate
stays steady"! The researchers predict that measurable change will take 3 -
5 years. It takes time to shift a culture. But it's interesting that
everyone WANTS change - and WANTS it NOW.]
...- About 750 clergy members statewide have signed the Oklahoma
Marriage Covenant, agreeing to require a four- to six-month
preparation period
- About 200 people from state government, the religious
community, private counseling agencies and other sectors have
trained to teach the Prevention and Relationship Enhancement
Program, or PREP. An additional 100 to 300 people are expected
to be trained by year's end.
Oklahoma State University's Bureau of Social Research has
finished surveying 2,000 Oklahoma adults in an effort to explain
the state's divorce rate and build a foundation for assessing
the marriage initiative's long-term impact. 1000 adults
also were questioned in Texas, Kansas and Arkansas to form a
comparison group.
Ninety percent of those surveyed said many couples rush into
marriage, and 82% described a statewide initiative to
promote marriage and reduce divorce as a good or very good idea.
69% called divorce a very serious national
33% of the respondents had been divorced at
least once. Of the divorcees, 86%cited a lack of commitment
as a major contributing factor.
Experts cite the state's low per-capita income - ...
43rd in the nation - and a tendency of Bible Belt couples to
marry young as reasons many marriages fail.

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