There's a common line of thinking in popular culture that is 100% sure that divorce is an ever-growing problem in America. From TV shows like the new Bravo series Untying the Knot to talking heads on cable news programs, people have been deluged with a single statistic that has become a sort-of talking point: that at least 50% of marriages end up in divorce.
Well new numbers from Justin Wolfers, a University of Michigan economist, prove that number is too high by almost a third. According to the New York Times, The divorce rate peaked in the 1970s and early 1980s and has been declining for the three decades since. About 70 percent of marriages that began in the 1990s reached their 15th anniversary (excluding those in which a spouse died), up from about 65 percent of those that began in the 1970s and 1980s.
Those who married in the 2000s are so far divorcing at even lower rates. If current trends continue, nearly two-thirds of marriages will never involve a divorce. There are obviously many factors why the divorce numbers are following, but one stands out to experts as a main point — the rising socioeconomic influence of women.
"Two-thirds of divorces are initiated by women," said William Doherty, a marriage therapist and professor of family social science at University of Minnesota, "so when you're talking about changes in divorce rates, in many ways you're talking about changes in women's expectations."
The Divorce Surge Is Over, but the Myth Lives On (NY Times)
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