Sunday, December 13, 2015
From The Washington Post:
We often hear that marriage rates in the U.S. are declining. But what do trends in marriage and divorce really look like over the long run, and why?
In a new post, data tinkerer Randy Olson provides some clarity on those trends by pain-stakingly assembling and analyzing data on marriage and divorce rates going back to before 1870 from the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics.
First, you can see that the common generalizations are true. As the chart shows, marriage rates have declined steadily since the 1980s. Today they are lower than any other time since 1870, including during the Great Depression. However, divorce rates today are actually slightly down compared with the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s on a per capita basis.
In addition, you can see that events like World War I, World War II and the Great Depression all had a significant impact on marriage and divorce rates.
Couples rushed to the altar before the wars started, as well as at their conclusion. As Olson notes, divorces also spiked after the conclusion of WWII, perhaps because some couples who had married rashly before the war realized their differences.
Read more here.