Since the 1980s divorce rates have generally declined in the United States, so when census state indicated that divorces actually increased between 2009 and 2010 – about 30,000 more in total – researchers were curious as to what was to blame.
One such researcher to review and analyze this census data was Philip Cohen, a senior fellow at the Council of Contemporary Families and a sociologist at the University of Maryland. According to his unpublished research, it was fascinating who was most likely to get a divorce during this time period, namely, couples with some college education and who happened to live in high foreclosure states.
Divorce Research Findings
Currently, less-affluent couples are getting married less than more wealthy couples, and those poorer couples who do choose to marry have higher divorce rates – rates which Cohen’s research confirmed stayed relatively stable during the most recent recession. Unemployment also had no discernable impact on divorce rates. Consequently, since less-affluent couples likely had little to do with the recession divorce uptick, it begs the question, what did cause the divorce increase?
According to Cohen’s research, the answer may be the connected to the struggling real-estate market. In a recent interview with New York Magazine, Cohen stated, “I don’t want to oversell it, but the story I could tell is that these are the people most affected by the real-estate market.” In fact, research suggested that determining which couples had the assets to buy overpriced houses was an indicative factor for predicting divorces.
These couples tend to want joint custody, and thus two complete households. And, according to Cohen, the recent small increase in divorces among educated couples in bad housing markets may just be the beginning of a divorce boom if the economy continues the way it is.
Source: New York Magazine, “Do the Rich Get More Recession Divorces?” Lisa Miller, August 6, 2012
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