Wednesday, December 19, 2018

2010 Divorce Rates and Longer Term Trends


April 20, 2018  

On 8th December, the Office of National Statistics (ONS) released the current figures on divorces happening in 2010. Having recently written about the trends over current years, and exactly what this tells us about the health of marital relationship as an organization, it is worth thinking about how these most current statistics affect the larger image.

The heading is that the number of divorces in 2010 increased; the first yearly increase in 8 years (because 2003) and relatively out of step with the wider pattern. The total number of divorces that happened in 2010 came to 119,589 representing a 4.9% increase on 2009’s 113,949 divorces. Although, on the surface, this does appear to recommend an increase in the prevalence of divorce the figure might possibly be discussed by other aspects such as a larger married population – more tellingly the divorce rate, that is the portion of the married population that got divorced, also increased from 10.5% in 2009 to 11.1% in 2010. So does this reinforce the understanding that more marriages are failing?

Instead of a sign of a wider shift in social mindsets it is more likely that the outcomes for 2010 mark a problem in a longer term decline in divorce rates. This kind of glitch or spike in divorce rates has been seen at other points in current history when the nation has actually been on the tail end of an economic downturn. In 1993 the rate spiked following the economic downturn between 1990 and 1992. There appears to have actually been a lag between the worst of the monetary problems and a jump in divorces and it seems plausible that this might likewise hint at causality; financial concerns are one of the major reasons for relationship breakdowns and the lag may be discussed by a) a preliminary response to pull together’ to deal with cash problems, b) the build up of subsequent pressures in the relationship and then, c) when the relationship has actually broken down, the time it considers divorce process itself to finish.

In terms of the more comprehensive image, the real number of divorces has been visibly succumbing to the last years although it is easy to attribute this to the matching fall in marriages and previous divorce patterns deteriorating the size of the married population in the first place. The fact that the divorce rate has been progressively falling too recommends that those who are wed are less most likely to divide.

More evidence originates from the profile of those couples involved. More divorces involved people aged 40-44 than other age group in 2010 however surprisingly it seems that the age at which individuals divorce is creeping up (both men and women had 0.2 increases to 44.2 and 41.7 respectively), albeit in line with the rise in the age at which people are weding, whilst the period of marital relationships has actually plateaued. Moreover, the highest rate of divorces for guys in 2010 was seen in the 30-34 year old age rather than the 25-29 group in 2009 (women were the same). This might all recommend that marital relationships are starting later however are starting to last a bit longer.

In spite of the most recent figures telling us that 33% of marital relationships starting in 1995 had failed in the 15 year duration to 2010 (up from 22% of those in the same 15 year period from 1970) the ONS is recommending that the figures they have gotten so far may show that the rate of divorce before the 15th year for more current marital relationships may be most likely to decrease. Once again this adds a little more weight to the argument that combines now appear to be waiting longer (cohabiting), being more cautious however ultimately, as an outcome, being more effective in their marriages.

In summary, it would appear more than likely that the rise in divorces in 2010 is a spike, as experienced in previous durations of economic crisis, instead of a longer term trend. There is still proof in the age and duration of those getting divorced to support the bigger image that couples are being more effective in marital relationship, however just time will tell.

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