Millennials are divorcing divorce, U.S. research finds
Millennials are driving a decline in divorce rates, new U.S. research has found. (MNStudio / shutterstock.com)
The tastes of millennials are hurting sales across a broad swath of products – everything from cereal to motorcycles and from diamonds to fabric softeners.
And new research is showing that millennials aren’t buying divorce, either.
The divorce rate in the United States fell 18 per cent between 2008 and 2017 and sociologist Philip N. Cohen at the University of Maryland expects the drop will continue.
In his paper “The Coming Divorce Decline,” submitted to the 2019 Population Association of America meetings, Cohen says baby boomers drove divorce rates for many years. But as they’ve aged, and therefore become less likely to leave marriages, there has still been a fall in divorce rates.
“(T)he very divorce-prone, multi-marrying, multi-divorcing baby boomers have moved further out of their peak action years, and it’s increasingly clear that divorce rates really are falling for younger people,” he wrote in a blog about his findings.
He says that while aggregate divorce stats don’t account for age, when he did control for age, he still found an 8 per cent drop in divorce rates.
“Age-specific divorce rates for the most recent decade show that the overall drop has been driven entirely by younger women (35 and under). It seems likely these women, who will reach longer marital durations and who are less likely to be divorced and therefore remarried later in life, will have lower divorce rates than today’s older women.”
Over the last decade, newly married women have been more likely to be in their first marriages, more likely to have bachelors degrees or higher, are less likely to be under age 25 and less likely to have children, which are all factors for decreased risk of divorce.
The current and future decline in divorce is “all the more remarkable,” says Cohen, as attitudes towards divorce have reached record levels of acceptance.
Cohen says the explanation likely lies in the “increasingly selective nature of marriage” and that younger people are waiting longer and are more financially stable when they tie the knot than previous generations.