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UFI’s question for the week:  “What is the divorce rate in the U.S.?

Your answer:

44% of you answered 50%

41% of you answered 60%

15% of you answered 30%
(This is the correct answer!)

UFI’s poll showed us that even our readers have fallen prey to the divorce myth.  Contrary to the usual media talking point of “the divorce rate is over 50 percent,” the divorce rate for first marriages hovers around 30 percent.   Stated another way, approximately 70 percent of all people who have ever been married are still married to the same person.

So where does the statistic of a divorce rate of 50 percent come from?  It comes from the approximately 30 percent of people who marry and then divorce, and then re-marry and divorce, and then re-marry and divorce…   These individuals who embark on a path of serial marriage and divorce push the overall divorce rate to around 50 percent;  thus, the number that the media likes to tout.

Although it would be better for children and society if the couples staying together for a lifetime were much higher than approximately 70 percent, this rate is good news that should be shared.  Since June is the month of brides and weddings, this is a good time for each of us to embark on a path of setting the record straight.

While you’re offering congratulations and encouragement to newlyweds and sharing this more positive news on marriage with friends and family, you might add:

  • Couples who are more married more than 20 years are overwhelmingly likely to stay together; and
  • just 4 percent of recently ended marriages involved couples that have been married 40 years or more.  (See Census Bureau statistics)
  • The divorce rate has actually been declining slowly and steadily since the late 1970’s.
  • Forty percent of all long-married couples are still “passionately in love.”  (a new UC Santa Barbara study)
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