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Study: Divorce and Marriage Rates are on the Decline

You must have heard by now that half of all marriages end in divorce. That places the divorce rate at 50%. However, that statistic was gleaned from the 1970s, just after the Cultural Revolution happened alongside women’s liberation. This coincided with revamped divorce laws, with most states moving to no-fault divorces. In 2024, the times have changed, and plenty of new things are happening. One of those things appears to be a decline in the overall divorce rate. But that has coincided with a decline in the overall marriage rate as well.

Today, modern studies are putting the overall divorce rate somewhere between 35% and 39%. Instead of half of all marriages ending in divorce, something like 37% of all marriages are ending in divorce. 

Interestingly, the COVID-19 pandemic was supposed to herald a notable uptick in the overall number of divorces. However, this appears to have never happened. Instead, since the pandemic, the divorce rate has actually decreased. 

According to the most recent statistics, the crude divorce rate has fallen from 4.00 per population to 2.50 per population from 2000 to 2021. In 2000, there were a recorded 944,000 divorces and annulments. In 2021, there were only 689,308. However, the marriage rate has decreased at the same time. In 2000, the marriage rate was 8.2 per population and in 2021, that number fell to 6.00 per population. The divorce and marriage rates have declined together.

Couples are Waiting Until Later in Life to Marry

One explanation for the overall decline in the rate of divorce is that couples are waiting until later in life to marry. According to the most recent statistics, men are waiting until they are 30 on average to begin a marriage. Women are waiting until they are 28. In 2003, men, on average, were marrying at 27 while women were marrying at 25. Studies indicate that these married individuals are not only older but better educated. This is especially true of the women who are more often marrying with bachelor’s or graduate degrees. 

Economics May Be a Factor in Delaying Divorce

Today, with the cost of living skyrocketing all over the U.S., couples are feeling the financial pinch of stagnant wages and less spending power. The economic downturn in 2024 may be forcing couples to hold off on divorce. According to The Guardian, the “cost of living crisis” has delayed more than 270,000 couples from divorcing. 

While traditionally, financial instability heralded the death knell of a marriage, it may be having the opposite effect in today’s economy. Both inflation and interest rates have risen placing a lot of pressure on families who cannot afford to sell or buy a home in this market. Worse still, these families would struggle to maintain two households post-divorce. So this is forcing a lot of couples to stay together even when they’d rather not. 

Talk to a Danville, Indiana Divorce Attorney Today

Chris Arrington represents the interests of divorcing couples in Danville, IN. Call our office today to schedule an appointment, and we can begin discussing your divorce right away. 


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