Divorce rates in the United States declined during the Great Recession of 2007 to 2009, according to an analysis in the current issue of Population Research and Policy Review (preprint version here). There were probably about 150,000 fewer breakups than would have been expected—a 4% drop—finds University of Maryland, College Park, sociologist Philip Cohen. But by 2011, divorces had almost recovered to expected rates. That’s not too surprising: Unhappy couples apparently stuck together through the Great Depression in the 1930s, too, D’Vera Cohn of Pew Research wrote a couple of years ago. “Perhaps couples cannot afford to get divorced during hard times—it may be too costly to live separately, one spouse may lose health benefits, divorce itself can be expensive and so forth,” she wrote. But it may be too soon to fully understand how hard times affected the state of U.S. unions, Cohen notes. Couples with more education, for instance, may have fared differently from those with less—and it’s possible that marriages made during hard times are more likely to fail.
Our favorite stories from around the web
Follow News from Science
- Most Read