Hurricane Sandy: Will It Increase New Yorker’s Rate of Divorce?

Hurricane Sandy tragically reeked havoc on New York and New Jersey.     The loss was catastrophic.  Sadly, families lost their homes, all their possessions and their lives.   The cost is immeasurable and cannot be calculated in dollars.

Interestingly, the hurricanes effects will also impact New Yorker’s marriages and relationships.

According to Karla Starr in her article Will Sandy bring baby boom or baby bust, the repercussions of the hurricane on families and marriages can be measured statistically measured.

The marriage rate will increase.   According to Starr, people will seek security and grow closer to “their sources of comfort.”     It may also be the tragedies and catastrophes, like Sandy, remind people about their own mortality push them to take the “next step” in their lives and wed.

Because of the enormity of the effects of the hurricane, the divorce rate will increase.   Marriages end in divorce when there is conflict.  The stress resulting from the  devastation of homes, the interruption of lives, and the resulting post traumatic mental illness are certainly stress points which are likely to destroy a marriage.

According to Starr, it is common for divorce rates decrease after man made disasters, but increase after natural disasters.  In post Hurricane Katrina New Orleans, the divorce rates in two parishes increased from 2.3 and 2.9 per 1000 people to 4.4 and 3.9, respectively.    More drastically, after hurricane Andrew hit Florida, Dade County’s divorce rate spiked by 30%.

In a year or so, we can look back to see what effect Sandy had on our family relationships.


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