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America’s Divorce Rate Hits 40-Year Low

DivorceMaybe it’s the result of the nation’s aging population. Perhaps it can be attributed to changing gender roles. It could be that fewer people are getting married.

Whatever the reason, divorce in America is on the decline and reached a 40-year low in 2015, according to a study conducted by the National Center for Family & Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University. This is the third consecutive year of falling divorce rates, according to TIME.

Researchers looked at information from the National Center for Health Statistics from 1970 to 2000, the U.S. Census Bureau information between 2008 and 2015, and the American Community Survey to calculate their results.

Washington D.C. had the highest divorce rate with 30 per 1,000 marriages ending in divorce, followed by Wyoming with 28 per 1,000, and Nevada with nearly 26 per 1,000.

Hawaii had the lowest divorce rate at 11 per 1,000. California ranked 45th out of the 50 states and Washington D.C. Although California’s rate-per-1,000 wasn’t listed in this study, American Community Survey Reports state that 9.6 percent of Californians identify as “divorced.”

This study found that the divorce rate has decreased by 25 percent from 1980.

“I’m seeing stories about millennials’ changing attitudes toward marriage, and how this could potentially continue to drive down the divorce rate,” San Diego family lawyer John Griffith says. “Lots of millennials are waiting until they are older to marry, and studies show divorce rates decrease when couples are older when they marry.”

These days, the average age of women who marry for the first time is 27. It’s 29 for men. The averages are even higher in New York and Washington D.C., according to The Washington Post.

The Institute for Family Studies found that delaying marriage from the teens until the early 20s produces the largest declines in divorce risk. Data analysis shows that up to about age 32, each additional year of age at marriage reduces the divorce odds by 11 percent.

If you think this divorce decline is sad news to a family lawyer, think again.

“If with divorce rates on the decline and fewer people getting married, we still manage to keep busy with other family law-related work,” Griffith says. “Divorce is tough on families. We certainly don’t enjoy seeing people go through it.”

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