Analyzing the Latest Marriage & Divorce Statistics
The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), a component of the CDC, updates all types of annual statistics on the way Americans are living their lives. One such important area is of course that of marriage, and correspondingly, divorce. The latest figures, which show the full annual totals from 2016, show that the marriage rate and the divorce rate in the country are both down.
Taking a look at the marriage rate in the United States, in 2016, there were 2,245,404 marriages from a population of 323,127,513. This translates to a rate of 6.9 marriages per 1,000 total population. This level of 6.9 isn’t the lowest it’s been, but it is down substantially from the turn of the millennium, when there was a rate of 8.2 per 1,000. What does that actually mean? With over 40 million more people, there were 70,000 less marriages, a rather large downturn when seen in that light.
Interestingly, with the marriage rate down, the divorce rate is also on the downward sing. In 2016, there were 827,261 divorces and annulments from a reported population of 257,904,548 (overall statistics depend upon reporting states), for a rate of 3.2 divorces per 1,000 population. In 2000, there had been 944,000 divorces from a reported 233,550,143 population, a rate of 4.0 per 1,000. Again, looking at the overall numbers, the figures showcase 24 million more people, with 115,000 fewer divorces.
The way to analyze both of these statistics in tandem, while admittedly oversimplifying the matter, is to say that fewer people getting married means that fewer people are rushing into things before they’re ready, or before they are absolutely certain of the other person. As this has happened and the marriage rate has declined, the divorce rate has declined in turn.
There are myriad other factors to this, including the economy, financial wellbeing for both men and women, student debt, societal standards for the appropriate ages to be married and then to have children, and on down the line from there. Further, while the statistics are down on the whole, other segments of the population are moving in the other direction. For instance, gray divorce is still rapidly on the rise, and while that represents a small piece of the overall puzzle, it reflects those societal standards and changing conditions we were just mentioning.
Of course, nobody’s life is a statistic and everyone is different. It’s worth looking at the statistics across the country while realizing that anybody’s personal circumstances could dictate something much different at any given time.