Fairfax, VA (Law Firm Newswire) January 8, 2013 – Divorce rates continue to follow economic trends.
The recent study, “Til Recession Do Us Part: Booms, Busts, and Divorce in the United States,” is out in early 2013, but researchers are already talking about how divorce rates follow the economic trends. A solid indicator of a growing and hearty economy in the U.S. is a high divorce rate, according to a professor of economics in the College of Business Administration.
Abdur Chowdhury’s study shows that couples are more likely to divorce when things are good “out there,” and less likely to split when in the midst of a recession.
The study examined divorce rates from 1978 to 2008 in 45 U.S. states, with a focus on the U.S. Great Recession, which ran 2007 to 2009. The study found a correlation between high unemployment rates and economic uncertainty and lower divorce rates, even for marriages deemed by one or both partners as “unhappy.”
“It may be that economic struggle either forced couples to work harder to save or improve their marriage,” states Fairfax divorce lawyer Lisa McDevitt, “or it simply delayed the inevitable, until the economy turned around.”
Chowdhury identified divorce as “pro-cyclical:” the economy and divorce work in the same cycle. Divorce drops when the economy struggles, and divorce rates rise when the economy improves.
A study conducted by the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia found that 29 percent of polled Americans who were married and between 18 and 45, stated that they believed the recession helped to deepen their marital commitment. In 2009, though, divorce rates once again began to climb. Couples reported that they waited for both the housing market and job market to improve before splitting marital assets and looking to separate their household. In states with high home-foreclosure rates, the rate of divorce did rise somewhat among couples who owned homes.
Divorce rates also fell dramatically during the Great Depression. The divorce rate has been generally dropping for decades, according to the Pew Research Center. But marriage rates have also been steadily dropping, as more couples decide to co-habitate and not formally marry.
Lisa Lane McDevitt
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Vienna, VA 22181
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