Over the last decade, America stumbled into one of the worst economic downturns since the Great Depression. However, one economic indicator did not face a downturn, and that’s the number of marriages that didn’t end in a divorce. But as the economy rebounds, so does the multitude of couples ending their matrimony.
Apparently “For Better or Worse” doesn’t exactly translate here, however. Most couples, during the recession, didn’t get divorced because their marriages grew stronger as the times got tougher. They stayed together because they couldn’t afford to get divorced according to a study released by the Pew Research Center.
"This is exactly what happened in the 1930s," said Johns Hopkins University sociologist Andrew Cherlin. "The divorce rate dropped during the Great Depression not because people were happier with their marriages, but because they couldn't afford to get divorced."
Between 2009 to 2011, there were about 150,000 fewer divorces filed than estimates would have expected according to University of Maryland sociologist Philip N. Cohen. In the US, the divorce rate among married women dropped from 2.09% to 1.95% from 2008 to 2009, then started rising again to 1.98% in both 2010 and 2011.
Cohen warns that the reasons for this are still up for debate. For example, he found that unemployment had no apparent effect on divorce rates; other research examining earlier periods has found the opposite. He did find that joblessness seemed to cut down divorce for college graduates — but across California, foreclosures pushed up divorce rates for the same group.
Divorces rise as economy recovers, study finds (LA Times)
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