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Divorce Rate Lowest In Decades

Marriage on the rocks? Thinking about pulling up stakes and heading off for greener pastures – without your spouse? If you do, you’ll be traveling a lonlier road than you would have a generation ago.

The divorce rate in the U.S. is lower now than at any time since the 1970s. The annual rate of divorces has fallen from a high of 22% in 1980 to a current record low of 16.4%.

Money is a major source of stress between married couples, but it may be the shaky economy that’s keeping some folks together.

Divorce has been consistently trending downward since the “divorce revolution” in the 70s. Somehow I don’t think it’s just the economy that’s pushing those numbers down this year. Maybe it’s more like: after a generation of widespread divorce, people realized it’s generally a bad idea to bail on a marriage, especially when you have kids?

Certainly it’s also expensive. Divorce typically lowers the net worth of each half of a couple by 70%. That’s a huge financial hit to take. Between the cave-in on housing prices and high unemployment rates, a lot of people probably can’t afford to leave their spouses, even if they want to.

People are cheating less too. The number of women willing to admit to adultery remains static at about 14%, but the rate of men has fallen slightly, from 22% to 21%. Maybe that’s also due to the economy: harder to hide a hotel getaway in the household budget when you’re counting every penny.

Or maybe the lower divorce rate and lower levels of cheating stem from the same things: could people just be having better relationships?

Photo: rivieramaya26

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