New U.S. Census data analyzed by a sociology professor at the University of Maryland found that the divorce rate in the U.S. has plummeted 18 percent between a span of eight years from 2008 to 2016.
The main cause? Simply put, millennials—particularly millennial women—are good at marriage.
According to the analysis completed by professor of sociology Philip Cohen, the entire process of marriage in this generation has stabilized due to several factors. “Marriage is become more selective, and more stable, even as attitudes toward divorce are becoming more permissive, and cohabitation has grown less stable,” Cohen writes in his study.
Cohen reviewed newly-married women (all wed within the last 12 months in his selection period), who were able to illustrate how millennials are trending away from divorce. He found that young women are the biggest contributors to the declining divorce rate thanks to factors such as age and education levels. (Most young women are now likely to be married at over 25 and they’ve enjoyed higher learning opportunities. These same women are also less likely to enter into a marriage with children of their own.)
“The trends described here represent progress toward a system in which marriage is rarer, and more stable, than it was in the past, representing an increasingly central component of the structure of social inequality,” he writes.
In conclusion, Cohen finds that the rate of divorce has not only dropped since 2008; it will continue to do so. “Further, although divorce prevalence has continued to rise for women at older ages, the regression models show no ease in adjusted divorce odds at any age,” he writes. “Finally, because divorce rates have continued to fall for younger women, and because the risk profile for newly married couples has shifted toward more protective characteristics (such as higher education, older ages, and lower rates of higher-order marriages), it appears certain that – barring unforeseen changes – divorce rates will further decline in the coming years.”
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