Divorce Numbers That May Make Us Cringe

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Statistics Related to Marriage Failures Are Discouraging but Show Improvement

by Michael Heath

Is the divorce rate in the US fifty percent? Well, it may depend on who does the calculating. The good news is that most of those in the science of social trends believe the rate is declining. According to the National Center for Family and Marriage Research, except for a slight uptick in 2021-2022, divorce numbers reflect a downturn since their peak in 1979. Some suggest that factors contributing to lower divorce rates are young people’s increasing inclination to wait for the right partner, avoidance of the high cost of ending a marriage and a trend by professional couples who believe that reaching the top includes succeeding in marriage.

Head-Turning Divorce Statistics

Here are some numbers from the US Consensus Bureau:

  • Forty-five percent of first marriages end in divorce
  • Sixty percent of second marriages and seventy-three percent of third marriages fail
  • A divorce happens every forty-two seconds
  • 2400 divorces occur every day
  • There are 16,800 divorces every week
  • 876,000 divorces are recorded each year
  • The average length of a marriage ending in divorce is eight years
  • Gay couples divorce at half the rate of straight couples. Lesbian couples divorce at twice the rate of their male counterparts

An especially interesting statistic is in the increase of marriage failures occurring in second and third marriages. Many may assume that people who have marital experience under their belt would come to a subsequent marriage better prepared, resulting in greater success. It may seem logical on the surface until one realizes that second and third timers usually bring baggage with them that affects their new marriages. Stepchildren, ex-wives, alimony, child support, debt, etc., can all infuse forces into a relationship resulting in discontent and outright resentment. Anyone who decides to give marriage another try needs to look at the broad picture before taking the leap.

Marriage as a Great Institution

Marriage is a transformative act leading to a greater meaning and purpose in life. This relational dynamic of being responsible to and for another human being can enhance everything leading to greater life experiences. Marriage has countless economic and social benefits to both the couple and larger community. Society should incentivize such unions while encouraging those considering marriage to go in with eyes wide open.



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