Divorce and Infidelity at Historic Lows

As a result of the economy, the divorce rate is at a historical low according to the Wall Street Journal.

 The divorce rate per 1,000 married women sank to 16.4 in 2009 from 16.9 the year before and a far cry from 22.6 in 1980, according to an analysis of the data from the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia.

The downward trend in the divorce rate from 17.3 in 2005 to last year’s 16.4 speaks to the historical trend of the number of divorces in a downturn decreasing, even in an era when many couples waiting longer to get married and have kids.

Interestingly, the rate of infidelity is also down.

Among adults who were ever married in the 2000s, 21% of men and 14% of women reported that they had ever had sex with someone other than their spouse while they were married, according to the Project’s analysis of General Social Survey data. In the 1990s, 22% of ever-married men and 14% of ever-married women said they’d had an affair.

These findings, particularly the decline in divorce, are not terribly surprising.   In many cases, couples are economically forced to remain together. The depressed real estate market prevents couples from recovering their home equity and the potential for long term unemployment forces disgruntled couples to remain economically dependent on each other.

It will be interesting to see when there is a full economic recovery, combined with the introduction of no fault divorce next month, how New York’s divorce rate will be impacted.

 

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