New data shows US divorce rate showing signs of bottoming out

For decades, the divorce rate between couples in the United States has been growing on a year on year basis. However, the recent data points suggest the growth may be slowing, and social commentators believe religion is playing a part in the trend.

In 2002, 29% of first marriages among women aged 15–44 were disrupted (ended in separation, divorce or annulment) within 10 years. Beyond the 10-year window, population survey data is lacking, but forecasts and estimates provide some understanding. It is commonly claimed that half of all marriages in the United States eventually end in divorce, an estimate possibly based on the fact that in any given year, the number of marriages is about twice the number of divorces.

Using 1995 data, National Survey of Family Growth forecast in 2002 a 43% chance that first marriages among women aged 15–44 would be disrupted within 15 years. More recently, having spoken with academics and National Survey of Family Growth representatives, an expert estimated in 2012 that the lifelong probability of a marriage ending in divorce is 40%–50%.

A 2008 study conducted on behalf of the Education Resources Information Center examined whether crossing racial boundaries increased the risk of divorce. Using the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth (Cycle VI), the likelihood of divorce for interracial couples to that of same-race couples was compared.

Comparisons across marriage cohorts revealed that, overall, interracial couples have higher rates of divorce, particularly for those that married during the late 1980s. The authors found that gender plays a significant role in interracial divorce dynamics: According to the adjusted models predicting divorce as of the 10th year of marriage, interracial marriages that are the most vulnerable involve White females and non-White males (with the exception of White females/Hispanic White males) relative to White/White couples.

Studies have shown that men who “earn high incomes have a decreased probability of getting a divorce”. However, higher income makes a woman’s chances of marriage less likely and it has no connection to possible divorces.