Census shows divorce rate higher in the south

Why is that?  Some details:

While the Bible Belt is known for its devotion to traditional values, Southerners don’t do so well on one key family value: They are more likely to get divorced than people living in the Northeast.

Southern men and women had higher rates of divorce in 2009 than their counterparts in other parts of the country: 10.2 per 1,000 for men and 11.1 per 1,000 for women, according to a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau released Thursday.

By comparison, men and women in the Northeast had the lowest rates of divorce, 7.2 and 7.5 per 1,000, which is also lower than the national divorce rate of 9.2 for men and 9.7 for women.

“In the South, there are higher rates of marriage and higher rates of divorce for men and women,” said Diana Elliott, a family demographer with the U.S. Census Bureau and co-author of the new report. “In the Northeast, you have people who are delaying first marriages, and consequently there are lower rates of marriage and lower rates of divorce.”…

…A divorced mother of two who grew up in Virginia and is now living in the Atlanta area, Lynn (not her real name) said she knows why her eight-year marriage failed. She and her ex-husband got married after a whirlwind three-month courtship, and she now knows, “You really don’t know somebody after three months.”

She didn’t have a college degree when she got married, although she did eventually graduate from college and is now a teacher.

Lynn said she can see some reasons that Southerners divorce at higher rates than the nation as a whole.

“Where I grew up in Virginia, I saw some of my peers not finishing high school, some not going to college and some not finishing college,” she said. “I saw a lot of people just staying in my hometown, staying in dead-end jobs, just settling, taking very little risk-taking for their careers.”

Youth and lack of education can lead to higher divorce rates, said D’Vera Cohn, a senior writer with the Pew Research Center, who wrote a report on “The States of Marriage and Divorce.” There’s also an interactive map on the website.

“There tend to be higher divorce rates in states where women marry young,” Cohn said. “Education also may play a role. In general, less educated women marry at younger ages than college-educated women, and less educated couples have higher divorce rates.”

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Comments

  1. It is interesting that states with some sort of gay marriage/civil union have the lowest divorce rate. So much for gays destroying the institution of marriage.

  2. The divorce rate nationally is about 50%, that is also the Catholic divorce rate. You can play with numbers a lot, but that is the basic rate and it has been for some time now.

    Men and women will always tie the not and families will always be a part of society, regardless of so called “gay” marriage, simply because that’s the way we are as humans (you can say that God created us like that or that nature made us like that).

    These numbers prove nothing. As for the states with gay “marriage” you could say is to early to measure any impact. Any conclusions are one’s opinions and not any solid “scientific” proof.

  3. “In the Northeast, you have people who are delaying first marriages”

    “first marriages”…says a lot, doesn’t it.

  4. Deacon Norb says:

    Re: Rudy #2

    You know, I have seen that statistic before and I’ve always wondered how it was constructed. If the statistical folks say that in 2010; “X” number of people got married and during that same period of time “one half X” got divorces; that’s one thing. AND that seems to be how this data was accumulated.

    A far more reliable (and thus meaningful) statistic would be to do linear histories of a broad sample of marriages from any source of information but starting at the ceremony and then say whether those marriages ended in divorce or not.

    Another part of this problem is that once you do get a divorce, the chances are high that your second marriage will fail also. How many celebrities have five or more consecutive marriages that ended in divorce and two-three marriages are not that unusual in broader — non-celebrity– marriages.

  5. Anyone can take numbers like this and make anything they want out of them. Too often, fools take a couple numbers that fit the agenda and then push them to the waiting media who agree with that agenda. The group with the fewest divorces are those where both of the people are close to God and fully open to the creation of new life. As we give in to our weaknesses and put ourselves first over God and over those we have promised to give our lives to, we soon find that the relationship with God and our loved ones go astray.

    It would be nice if politicians who make policy were truly interested in supporting those things which keep families together and stopped rewarding behavior that hurts families the kids. This stuff will only be used to try to prove points one way or the other and thus the huge amount of money spent will have little productive use.

    As to the point that the south is the bible belt and talks about family values, the numbers would have to be broken down to determine if those who are indeed truly close to God and desire family values to see how many of them are involved in divorce or are part of the solid larger number who stay married and devoted to their family.

    Any conclusion on the impact of gay marriage will take time as it is one of the many components that slowly impact the overall view of marriage and the creation of children in society. The funding of single moms in the welfare state did not change society overnight, but took time to develop to show the huge negative impact this type of family delivers over time to society. It is one the biggest predictors of long term poverty and other social ills on the children of the vast majority of these type of homes. Over time, we will see the impact of gay marriage by the negative impact it has on thsoe involved, especially if they are allowed to adopt kids. we will hear stories of the good gay couple who did a good job with a kid and not those who destroyed kids lives. Look how the left has fought to keep the story of welfare moms from changing policy even at the expense of the kids.

  6. Fiergenholt says:

    One deacon who is a friend of mine told me some time back of just such a linear study.

    He went back in his parish records and was able to document that he had been the presider at slightly over 50 weddings in his maybe 30 years of being an ordained deacon.

    Of those 50 weddings, he knew of SIX that failed. Maybe a 1/8.5 ratio.

    There may have been more but there was no way to really know. He readily admitted to me that only two of those 50 or so entries in the parish’s marriage registry had annulments also included.

    He also noted that of those 50 or so weddings, less than half of the couples still lived close enough to the parish of their ceremony that the continued existence of their marriage was widely known.

    Conventional wisdom among folks involved in marriage and family life ministry suggests that the marriage preparation programs all of our parishes are required to have have a very solid impact on the couples themselves. The more the couple is involved in just such a program, the higher success rate those marriages have.

  7. If by “delaying first marriage”, they mean “shacking up”, you are messing with the statistics but not the impact on people’s lives. My daughter learned in one of her university neuropsych courses that (especially in women) there is a biochemical brain-based connection made when you become sexually active with someone. If the connection is broken, it becomes harder to establish that connection again…the more it happens, the weaker each successive bond–sounds like a recipe for personal and family disaster to me. It also sounds like Church/Biblical teaching is based on bio-chemical reality.

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