Divorce rates expected to increase as unemployment rate decreases

When unemployment rates rose during the past several years, many sociologists also expected to see the divorce rate rise at the same time. However, when a recent study was conducted that looked at the effect of unemployment on marriage after the recession; sociologists were surprise to see the opposite is actually true and that the divorce rate has actually decreased.

When looking at statistics from all 50 states – Missouri included – it was found that before 1980 when unemployment numbers had risen, divorce followed the same trend. But when looking at this most recent recession and unemployment, the opposite is true.

For example, in March of 2007 the unemployment rate was at 4.6 percent. But then, three years later unemployment rose to 10.2 percent. However, during those years, the divorce rate between 2007 and 2008 actually decreased by 1.4 percent, and then decreased another 2.8 percent between 2008 and 2009.

And while some were thinking that this decrease meant that couples pull together during tough financial times, experts aren’t so sure and are instead suggesting in situations where a household already has one less salary due to unemployment that people don’t want to further change their standards of living.

In addition, one realtor who specializes in property of divorced couples claims that over the years it’s become harder and harder for families to divvy up belongings, especially when one person is unemployed. Because of this more and more couples are putting off filing for an actual divorce for as long as they can.

Looking at these trends, experts are saying that as the unemployment rate continues to drop, and the economy gets better, the divorce rate will actually turn in the other direction and start to increase as some people’s financial situations get better and they feel more comfortable filing for a divorce.

Source: Huffington Post, “Unemployment And Divorce: The Surprising Connection,” Laura Stampler, 5 May 2011

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