A Huffington Post article last week proclaimed in a big headline, “Divorce Rates Declining in the U.S.” Kevin Chern wrote, “Every state in the U.S. that tracks divorce rates saw a drop in the number of people getting divorced over the last 20 years.”
The article made the divorce drop mysterious. The possible reasons included “the recession, women moving more prominently into the workforce, and the rise of cohabitation prior to marriage—to name a few.” A look at the statistics, though, punctures the mystery. The number of divorces has declined as the number of marriages has declined: The marriage and divorce rates are both down about 30 percent. In 1990 there were almost half as many divorces as marriages. In 2009 there were half as many divorces as marriages.
Other data: Only about half of Americans are married now, down from nearly three-fourths. Now only one-in-five Americans gets married before the age of 30. Pew Research found about 40 percent of unmarried adults stating that marriage is becoming obsolete.