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The Divorce Rate In America Is Dropping Fast

young couple

Millennials are often blamed for many things, and accused of being the "spoiled generation," but according to recent data they are now also being credited for lowering the divorce rate across America.

University of Maryland sociology professor Philip Cohen found that divorce rates have dropped a whopping 18% from 2008 to 2016, and credits Gen X-ers and millennials with the decline. "The overall drop has been driven entirely by younger women," Cohen writes.

Some suggest that the reason for the drop is that millennials tend to marry later in life, after they've secured a good job, have financial security and are more confident in their life partner. There aren't as many taboo's about living together before marriage as there once was, therefore millennials don't feel as pressured to marry at a young as perhaps their parents did.

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Some assume that divorce rates are dropping because as baby boomers age, there tends to be less of a desire to divorce. Cohen took this in to consideration and found that the divorce rate still fell 8%.

“The change among young people is particularly striking,” Susan Brown, a sociology professor at Bowling Green State University, told Bloomberg of Cohen’s results. “The characteristics of young married couples today signal a sustained decline [in divorce rates] in the coming years.”

young couple
Credit: iStock / monkeybusinessimages

Cohen's paper notes that the rate of which those under the age of 45 have chosen to divorce since the 1990's seems to have leveled off, while those over the age of 45 has continued to increase.

“One of the reasons for the decline is that the married population is getting older and more highly educated,” Cohen told Bloomberg. "Fewer people are getting married, and those who do are the sort of people who are least likely to get divorced", he said. “Marriage is more and more an achievement of status, rather than something that people do regardless of how they’re doing.”

Because of this Cohen predicts that the divorce rate will continue to drop as people wait longer to get married. The study suggests that many wait to marry until their financially stable, with those who are less financially secure opting to still live together and raise a family together, yet simply opt out of the formality of marriage.

"The trends described here represent progress toward a system in which marriage is rarer, and more stable, than it was in the past", Cohen writes, "representing an increasingly central component of the structure of social inequality."

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