The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C.


1444 North Farnsworth Avenue, Suite 307, Aurora, IL 60505

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Why the Divorce Rate Is Lower Than You Think

Posted on in Divorce

divorce rate, DuPage County divorce lawyerEveryone “knows” that half of all American marriages end in divorce, which means the divorce rate is probably right around 50 percent, right? Comparing U.S. Census Bureau’s numbers on marriages and divorces in a given year, this commonly-cited “fact” appears to be completely true. The reality is, however, that numbers without context can be extremely misleading, especially when you consider that marriages and divorces in the same year are not really related to one another.

A Look Behind Numbers

It makes sense when you think about it: couples who are getting married this year—with maybe a few exceptions for remarriage cases—are not the same couples who are getting divorced. The couple applying for a marriage license at the courthouse have very little to do with the couple down the hall filing a petition for dissolution. In fact, according to some research, the divorce rate of those marrying in the 1990s or later closer to one-third than to one-half.

Higher Rates in Some Demographics

Researchers and sociologists have speculated that the deceptive divorce rate is due, in part, to the increasing selectiveness of couples currently considering marriage. Many younger couples are waiting longer to get married or, in some cases, eschewing the institution altogether. For those that do get married, certain social, economic, and cultural factors seem to indicate that divorce is more likely.

A recent analysis of data collected by the American Community Survey looked at some of those factors and put them together in a series of interactive graphs. While no single demographic group exceeded a 45 percent divorce rate, individuals with a high school education or less were more likely to get divorced than those with a bachelor’s or advanced degree. Similarly, those who are unemployed divorce at a higher rate than those who are consistently employed. Divorce rates also seem to be impacted by race and origin, with Native American men and women divorcing most often and Asian-American divorcing the least.

Does the Divorce Rate Matter?

While the rate of divorce is of interest to many people, especially those who study social behavior and cultural trends, it is rarely important to a couple who is struggling to make their marriage work. The spouses have too much to worry about in their own lives to be concerned about thousands of other, unknown couples.

If you are considering divorce, your focus needs to be on yourself and on your children, and our knowledgeable team is available to assist you. Contact an experienced DuPage County family law attorney today to discuss your situation. We will help you find a solution that works best for your family and provides the happier future that you deserve. Call 630-409-8184 for a confidential consultation today.


The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C.


1444 North Farnsworth Avenue, Suite 307, Aurora, IL 60505

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