Divorce Rate Lowest in Northeast, Highest in the South

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Divorce Rate Lowest in Northeast, Highest in the South

According to the latest U.S. Census information as recent as 2009, the divorce rate is the lowest in the Northeast and the highest in the South. This all comes out of the new report the bureau is now generating, Marital Events of Americans. 2009 was the first year data was collected for this report. This document surveyed Americans 15 and older about marriage, widowhood and divorce.

Divorce rates are lower in the Northeast because people put off first marriages longer and there are less marriages occurring in that region. In the South, more marriages occur so the divorce rate is therefore higher.  The Southern states with the highest divorce rates for men were Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi and Texas. The Northeastern states with the lowest rates of divorce for men were New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Southern states with the highest divorce rates for women were Kentucky, West Virginia, Georgia, Arkansas, Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Tennessee. Northeastern states with the lowest divorce rates for women were New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. The report uncovered some other interesting findings. Children of divorced parents were 75% more likely to live with their mother than their father. 28% of Children whose parents divorced in 2009 were more likely to live below the poverty level. 23% of Women were more likely to need public assistance after divorce. 15% of men had a greater chance of needing public assistance. 22% of women who divorced in the last year were more likely to be in poverty, compared to 11% of men.

Previous to this report, information on marriages and divorces was collected at the state level through collecting marriage and divorce certificates. These certificates were passed on to the vital statistics system of the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). Then in 1996 the NCHS and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) ceased collection of these records. This latest report taken up by the Census Bureau is meant to fill the gap. If you’re going through a divorce and want advice, read the book, The Divorce Survival Guide: The Roadmap for Everything from Divorce Finance to Child Custody by Calistoga Press.

Why do Baby Boomers Divorce the Most?

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Why do Baby Boomers Divorce the Most?

Though it’s always quoted as hovering around 50%, the divorce rate in America is now closer to 40% than 50%. This is true for almost every demographic except the baby boomer, those born between 1945 and 1964. For them the rate has grown to 50% in two decades. So why do baby boomers divorce the most? Some experts have posited that since baby boomers came up in an age of great prosperity and challenged every aspect of conventional society from gender inequality to civil rights, they are now challenging what it means to be middle-aged and redefining marriage and relationships too. Others say that they are looking for a relationship that is unattainable, perfection. Still others believe that they want the most out of life, including attraction and sexual satisfaction in their partners. As baby boomers age their peculiarities will be of much study to psychologists, demographers, sociologists and many others. The question will be how marriage and relationships change in this important demographic as they continue to age and what unique qualities will there be when they are seniors.

Baby boomers were the first generation to reject traditional gender roles outright. With the advent of the birth control pill came the sexual revolution as well as great strides in feminism. Of course this was also the generation that challenged the traditional notion of marriage and enacted a record number of divorces through the 80’s, 90’s and 00’s. It may be their propensity toward divorce that causes their children, the Gen X, Gen Y and Millennial generations to wait longer to get married and start a family. It may also be the reason that the younger generations are cohabitating more. Of course financial considerations also come into play, and perhaps are more of a cause.  But the baby boomers paved the way to make it possible. The mistakes of the baby boomers and their propensity toward divorce may have also made marriages much more stable, decreasing the divorce rate among later generations. This is because people are much more serious when entering into a marriage. They take it very seriously, do not want to be divorced and so they wait and make sure the person is the right one before going ahead and getting married. If you are looking for a relationship as a divorcee from the baby boomer generation, read the book, Boomers Guide to Dating (Again) by Laurie A. Helgoe, Ph.D.

Signs you May be Entering or are in a Bad Marriage

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Signs you May be Entering or are in a Bad Marriage

When you see a disaster is eminent, the best plan is to get out before it’s too late. After that, it’s all triage. Nowhere else is this truer than when entering into a bad marriage—the consequences of which can follow you for years. Sometimes we’re blinded by love. At other times, something arises that cannot be reconciled. Either way, when the divorce is final, we often look for easy things to blame. We feel confused, overwhelmed, hurt and angry. But usually there are many things that lead to the decline and dissolution of such a relationship. Enjoy love but keep on the lookout for important warning signs. You may be able to duck a bad situation or likely recognize when your relationship is heading south. Do you remember your first fight? Few couples do. Well, maybe some women do. In any case, lots of couples fight about the same things, money being the topmost issue, confirmed in several studies. But if you start fighting about money early on, say as you’re boarding the plane on the way to your honeymoon, the marriage could be in trouble. That’s according to research out of Kansas State University. That’s because arguments about money early on affected the marriage even years later. Fighting about money was the “top predictor for divorce” regardless of socio-economic status or income level.

If you got married by an Elvis impersonator in Las Vegas at the spur of the moment, surprise–you might not make it. But if you dated for three years before deciding to get married, you have a 39% less likelihood of seeing the inside of a divorce court, according to researchers out of Emory University. Couples who dated for three years had far better odds than those who dated for less than a year. Are you both teetotalers? Or perhaps you both like to party until the wee hours. If you’re drinking habits diverge sharply, your relationship might soon too, so say University of Buffalo researchers. If one spouse drank heavily, the couple was more likely to get divorced. But the same results weren’t true when both partners tipped the glass often. Apparently, it’s the mismatch rather than the habit that causes strife.

Did you two talk about a prenup before marriage? If so, you are more than likely to keep your money when you two go your separate ways. That’s because the longevity of the marriage isn’t the utmost concern to both parties. Couples that don’t share a bank account are 145% more likely to divorce, says the National Center for Family and Marriage Research. The reason is financial generosity and sharing is conducive to marriage. It makes you a unit. Keeping things for yourself and separate is not, though of course we all need some individuality. Still, complete separateness denotes something. How much did you blow on the wedding? Some events seem to cost more than a mortgage nowadays. But one Emory University study found that the more you spend on the wedding, the less likely you will have staying power. That’s because spending more gave each elevated expectations for the marriage. When you aren’t ready for problems when they inevitably strike, there are no coping strategies set aside to deal with them. Those who coughed up $20,000 or more were 3.5 times more likely to divorce than those who spent $5,000-$10,000. Social networking sites have us all interconnected. They influence us more than we think. In fact, one study published in “Social Forces” Journal found that if a friend or neighbor got divorced, that person was 75% more likely to get divorced themselves. For ways to make you marriage strong whether entering into or already in the thick of it read, The Marriage Guide Book: How to Make Your Marriage Thrive by Vanessa Pagan.

Marriage in America Today

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Marriage in America Today

The number of people getting married is declining. Experts say the marriage rate today is lower than it was in 1880, another time when extreme differences in income affected the social landscape. Though marriage is touted in America and many societies as helping to preserve the social order, the atmosphere with which we operate is far from conducive in promoting it. In the original Gilded Age as Mark Twain called it, a new class of industrialists slashed wages and with it the prospects of workers of marrying age, mostly male factory workers. Sociologist Andrew J. Cherlin at John Hopkins University wrote that one difference today is many are choosing to cohabitate and have children without a marriage license filed away in the family home. That would never do in the 19th century. But today it’s quite common.

One problem is the gatekeepers to pop culture, the TV and movie writers, musical artists and others have failed to keep up and give us an image we can hang onto for this new state of affairs in how long-term love should be.  Zoë Heller at the New York Review of Books says films today and other cultural milieu are filled with simplistic plots and clichés about love, without delving into the complicated minutia of modern relationships and how best to navigate them. They don’t reflect what people are actually experiencing, nor do they give a strategy for which to encounter the prickly paradigm of modern love. Supporters of traditional values decry the end of marriage as it once was. But couples staying together longer show greater stability, know each other better and perhaps can best negotiate differences. The expense of a wedding, weakening norms and lack of financial benefit may result in a further decline in marriage, experts believe. On the upshot for advocates, statistics show that those who are getting married stay together longer. Also, the divorce rate has dropped dramatically. In fact, since the 1980’s, divorce has been in deep decline. 70% of those who married in the 1990s celebrate their 15th wedding anniversary today. That’s 5% higher than those who married in the 70’s and 80’s. Those who tied the knot in the new millennium have an even lower divorce rate.

According to economist Justin Wolfer at the University of Michigan, two-thirds of married couples today stay together. For those cases where divorce does occur, two-thirds of the time it’s the wife who wants it. The reason is women’s expectations for marriage have vastly changed. Gender roles in America saw a dramatic paradigm shift over the past two decades due to the Feminist movement. This in turn affected how both sexes interact with one another. Today, marriage isn’t only about raising a family or having financial support. It’s about love and partnership. People also want someone who will help lead them into personal growth. They want to grow and better themselves and they look to their partner to help them complete their metamorphosis. A lot of times, when we feel as though we are in a stale relationship and the well has gone dry, we feel it’s time to move on. The baby boomer generation remains the one with the highest rate of divorce. People are living older nowadays, and so when the children have moved out and they still have decades of life left, they want to make the most of it. That sometimes means leaving someone they no longer connect with in order to enjoy those years with someone they do. For more on this topic read, The Marriage-Go-Round: The State of Marriage and the Family in America Today by Andrew J. Cherlin.

Should we be Happy about the High Divorce Rate?

FUNNY-DIVORCE

Should we be Happy about the High Divorce Rate?

According to the U.S. Census Bureau data, our sour mood on marriage has been sustained for three consecutive years in a row, 2009-2012 with signs that it hasn’t abated. We’ll see what the newest numbers bring. The number of divorces in 2012 reached a record-high of 2.4 million. Not only are we ending more marriages but fewer are being created according to the National Center for Family and Marriage Research. Their findings show the marriage rate is down a whopping 60%.

If you are a believer in marriage, even hoping it’s coming for you, these stats can put you down in the dumps. But just like with every thunderhead the clearest sunny day follows. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, all this divorcing is good for the economy. Two separated people have to get two separate houses, or at least two distinct places to live. That means new leases or mortgages and more money flowing into the economy. That’s good for everyone else. The bad news? There isn’t much benefit to the individual.

Single women are the biggest growing demographic in the economy. They are also buying houses in droves according to the U.S. Association of Realtors. Richard R. Peterso, author of the book Women, Work, and Divorce recently said that, “Divorced and never-married women are more likely to work and to work more hours per year, and are less likely to withdraw from the labor force, than married women.” According to investment website LearnVest.com those who are single shell out more for the privilege of living alone, $67,000 more over six decades.

A recent story in The Atlantic stated that women can expect to make one million dollars more if you take taxes, healthcare and other things such as this into consideration. Though a bad economy usually increases divorce rates, due to the strain it puts on couples, some experts believe lots of people are staying separated, cohabitating instead of getting married and altogether avoiding divorce. Only with time will we see what actually happened to marriage due to the Great Recession.