Tuesday, April 19, 2005

American divorce rate is falling

This NY Times story says that stories about 50% divorce rates are exaggerated:
About 60 percent of all marriages that eventually end in divorce do so within the first 10 years, researchers say. If that continues to hold true, the divorce rate for college graduates who married between 1990 and 1994 would end up at only about 25 percent, compared to well over 50 percent for those without a four-year college degree.
It says that the overall divorce rate never reached 50%, and maybe it never will, in spite of common predictions. The article ends with this lame excuse:
Joshua R. Goldstein, associate professor of sociology and public affairs at Princeton's Office of Population Research, said the loss of detailed government data, coming at a time when divorce rates were at their highest, might have distorted not only public perception, but people's behavior.

"Expectations of high divorce are in some ways self-fulfilling," he said. "That's a partial explanation for why rates went up in the 1970's."

As word gets out that rates have tempered or actually begun to fall, Dr. Goldstein added, "It could lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy in the other direction."
So this guy thinks that 1000s of couples got divorced because they thought that they were following a trend, and if they only knew that they were following the wrong trend, they would have stayed married. No wonder these folks are producing faulty statistics.

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