Rising Divorce Rate Indicates Better Economy

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A new study says an economic uptick is the green light some couples have been waiting for to call it quits.

A divorce can be spendy and, suggests a new study, that high cost forced some unhappy married couples to stay together during the Great Recession.

Times are getting better, so those couples are finally calling it quits.

Research by University of Maryland sociologist Philip N. Cohen indicates that 150,000 fewer divorces happened between 2009 and 2011 in the U.S. than would have been expected, says The Huffington Post. It added:

According to Cohen, the rate dropped from 20.9 divorces per 1,000 married women in 2008 to 19.5 divorces in 2009, but began to rebound in 2010 when the rate hit 19.8. Cohen suggests that as the economy improved, so did the divorce rates.

Bloomberg says:

The number of Americans getting divorced rose for the third year in a row to about 2.4 million in 2012, after plunging in the 18-month recession ended June 2009, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

Andrew Cherlin, a Johns Hopkins University sociologist, told the Los Angeles Times that this trend has been seen before. “This is exactly what happened in the 1930s,” said Cherlin. “The divorce rate dropped during the Great Depression not because people were happier with their marriages, but because they couldn’t afford to get divorced.”

Along with the social and emotional impacts of divorce, Bloomberg says the economic effects are broad:

It is contributing to the formation of new households, boosting demand for housing, appliances and furnishings and spurring the economy. Divorces are also prompting more women to enter the labor force.

What’s your take on this? Do you think economic hard times strengthened marriages and kept people together who might have otherwise split, as some have maintained, or did couples simply put their breakup on hold? Share your opinion below in the comments or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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