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Divorce is declining, but for a surprising reason

On Behalf of | Aug 7, 2019 | Divorce

Many people assume that the chance a couple will divorce is a high one. Though the rate is still significant, despite what many news reports might have you believe, divorce is actually going down. That 50% statistic you may have heard is outdated. Today, the number is around 39%.

What’s behind this trend, researchers found, is that Millennials are divorcing less often. If that’s your age demographic you might feel optimistic, and you should, but that’s not the whole picture. Millennials divorce less often because they marry less often, and researchers are concerned about what that could mean for society in the future.

Millennials say “I don’t!”

A recent study found that young people in the year 2016 were 18% less likely to divorce than people of the same age in 2008. However, that is because fewer of them are getting married in the first place. That may not seem like such a bad thing, but there are other factors in play here. One of them seems to be that Millennials who already enjoy significant social advantages are the ones getting married. Marriage is an achievement instead of the start of young adulthood.

Another factor is that cohabitation, or living together before or instead of getting married, is on the rise. Fifteen percent of people aged 25 to 34 in 2018 lived with a partner to whom they weren’t married. When looking at people under age 25, a higher percentage of people live with their partner than those married to a partner. Figures from 20 years ago suggest that those numbers could continue to increase.

How children factor in

Some people decide to live together because they intend to marry eventually, but others do it for other reasons that can impact the relationship. Some people live together because they don’t want to live alone, because having a roommate is cheaper or because they figure they already spend a lot of time together, so living together makes sense. Also, people who make less money and have less education are more likely to move in with an unmarried partner very quickly. Subsequently, those couples are less likely to ever marry.

Furthermore, those who live together may end up getting pregnant. More than one out of every two children, nine years old or younger, whose unmarried parents live together, will see their parents break up. Kids born to married parents have a one in five chance of their parents splitting up. Sixteen percent of cohabitating parents live below the poverty line compared to only 8% of married parents. No matter how anyone feels about single or poor parents, the fact is that those two factors can significantly impact a child’s upbringing.

The takeaway

Though these figures may seem promising for Millennials who wait to tie the knot, the fact is that divorce can happen to anyone at any time. If you’re considering a divorce here in Alabama, know that you are not alone. It may be the best decision for you.

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