Item from the Smart
Marriages Archive, reproduced in the Divorce Statistics
Study: Cycle of divorce is abating
By Marilyn Elias, USA TODAY August 11, 1999
Adults raised by divorced mothers are far less likely to get divorced
themselves than they were 20 years ago, a major study out Tuesday shows.
In fact, their marriage and divorce rates are now closer to those of
from intact homes than they were in the 1970s, when children of divorce
were far more likely to marry young and split from spouses.
The gap is closing because parents increasingly divorce before the home
erupts into a battlefield and youngsters are scarred for life, University
of Utah sociologist Nicholas Wolfinger told the American Sociological
Association in Chicago.
The surveys of 21,000 adults annually or biannually from 1973 to 1994
still show some differences in the marital histories of those from intact
one-parent homes. Compared with those whose parents didn't divorce, adults
raised by divorced mothers have a:
49% higher split-up rate. In 1973, it was 172% higher, more than double
the rate of those from two-parent homes.
34% higher rate of teen-age marriage; it was 76% higher 20 years ago.
26% lower adult marriage rate vs. no difference 20 years ago. People who
grew up with divorce "may be more likely to cohabit rather than get
married," Wolfinger says.
5% lower marriage rate overall; it was 36% higher in the mid-70s. "Many
these were probably teen marriages, which are more likely to end in
divorce," he says.
But divorce isn't any less traumatic for children, says David Blankenhorn
of the Institute for American Values in New York.
Teen marriage is declining for everyone, not just for children of divorce,
And lower adult marriage rates could reflect a "sleeper effect":
negative effect of divorce. "They may have trouble establishing and
maintaining committed relationships," he says.
[Editorial note by John Crouch -- These numbers are still very high even
though they have gone down dramatically. Also, when Wolfinger says "parents
increasingly divorce before the home
erupts into a battlefield", it may be accurate that that number is
increasing, but it is still not true of a great many divorcing people, in
my experience as a divorce lawyer. Also, this ignores the observation that
many low-conflict divorces become high-conflict post-divorce co-parenting
[see also Children of Divorcees less likely
to get Divorced]
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