Divorce declines to lowest level in nearly four decades

by Gregory Tomlin, |

BOWLING GREEN, Ohio (Christian Examiner) – Fewer couples are getting divorced now than at any time in the past 35 years, a study from a university research center in Ohio has claimed.

According to the National Center for Family & Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University, the divorce rate has fallen for the third consecutive year in the U.S., bringing it to its lowest level since 1980.

That seems to run counter to the traditional claim that "half of all marriages end in divorce." In fact, they don't – the "half" cited is a statistical probability the marriage will fail rather than an actual divorce rate.

In 2015, the divorce rate, which has been in decline for several years, dropped from 17.6 to 16.9. That figure is significantly lower than the divorce rate of 23 in 1980.

According to the data published by the Center, divorce rates were highest in Alaska (22.7), Arkansas (25.3), Nevada (25.7), Wyoming (27.9) and Washington, D.C. (29.9).

The figures also indicate that there is little trouble in paradise. The lowest divorce rates occurred in Hawaii (11.1). The other four states with the lowest divorce rates included Wisconsin (12.4), Rhode Island (12.6), Delaware (12.9) and New Jersey (12.9).

There still are, however, a lot of divorces out there. According to the center, 1,110, 579 women divorced in 2015.

In 2015, marriage rates actually increased from 32.3 from 31.9 the year before for women age 15 or older – the highest since 2009 but still 44 points lower than 1980. The center did not explain why it believed marriage rates had increased.

Other studies show that young people are still marrying at the same rate as previous generations, but delaying marriage until they reach their early 30s. In 2014, more than 70 percent of Americans were married at least once by age 35, down from 90 percent three decades ago.