Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Monday, January 12, 2015

Marriage Rates

From Today:

The New York Times looked closely at those numbers and reported: “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, according to data from Justin Wolfers, a University of Michigan economist (who also contributes to The Upshot).”

This means we need to update how we think of marriage. It’s no longer accurate to casually proclaim that 50 percent of marriages end in divorce. 

Whelan says there are many factors contributing to lower divorce rates. People are getting married later in life, which often means they are more financially stable. Birth control reduces the chance of surprise babies. But there is also a diverging trend in marriage, she says.

“It turns into the marriage ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’,” she says. “On the one hand we have educated people who are marrying at [high rates].”

But, on the other hand: “If you are less educated and affluent you are more likely to cohabitate," says Whelan. Not that this means an end to marriage.

“Fewer lower-income folks, I believe, are getting married now than in the past,” she says. Marriage used to be something everyone did regardless of class. Now that living together seems less shocking, some people have less incentive to tie the knot. And some women don’t see the economic advantage to marrying and simply don’t.   

When cohabitating couples break up, which can be just as disruptive as divorce, these numbers don’t make it into the divorce rates.

Read more here.


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It's interesting that they can predict marriage based on education level. I think it's important to be educated, but I didn't know that determined if you would marry. I am in college right now and I'm still single. I hope that I get a hot wife after I get an MBA.

Posted by: Caleb Hart | Jan 14, 2015 12:38:24 PM

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