Sunday, December 16, 2018

2010 Divorce Rates and Longer Term Trends


December 25, 2017  

On 8th December, the Office of National Statistics (ONS) released the current figures on divorces taking place in 2010. Having just recently written about the trends over current years, and what this tells us about the health of marital relationship as an institution, it deserves thinking about how these newest statistics affect the larger image.

The heading is that the number of divorces in 2010 increased; the very first annual rise in 8 years (because 2003) and apparently out of action with the more comprehensive trend. The overall variety 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 area, this does seem to recommend an increase in the prevalence of divorce the figure could potentially be explained by other elements such as a bigger married population – more tellingly the divorce rate, that is the portion of the married population that got separated, also rose from 10.5% in 2009 to 11.1% in 2010. So does this strengthen the understanding that more marital relationships are failing?

Rather than an indicator of a broader shift in social attitudes 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 a recession. In 1993 the rate increased following the economic crisis in between 1990 and 1992. There seems to have actually been a lag in between the worst of the financial problems and a dive in divorces and it seems possible that this might likewise hint at causality; financial issues are one of the major causes of relationship breakdowns and the lag might be explained by a) a preliminary reaction to gather’ to handle loan concerns, b) the build up of subsequent pressures in the relationship then, c) once the relationship has broken down, the time it considers divorce process itself to finish.

In terms of the more comprehensive image, the actual variety of divorces has been noticeably falling for the last decade although it is simple to associate this to the corresponding fall in marital relationships and previous divorce patterns deteriorating the size of the married population in the very first place. The fact that the divorce rate has actually been gradually falling too suggests that those who are married are less likely to split.

Further evidence originates from the profile of those couples involved. More divorces included people aged 40-44 than any other age in 2010 but surprisingly it appears that the age at which individuals divorce is creeping up (both males and females had 0.2 boosts to 44.2 and 41.7 respectively), albeit in line with the increase in the age at which individuals are marrying, whilst the period of marital relationships has plateaued. Furthermore, the greatest rate of divorces for men in 2010 was seen in the 30-34 year old age group instead of the 25-29 group in 2009 (females were unchanged). This might all recommend that marriages are starting later on but are starting to last a bit longer.

Despite the most recent figures informing us that 33% of marriages beginning in 1995 had failed in the 15 year period to 2010 (up from 22% of those in the same 15 year duration from 1970) the ONS is recommending that the figures they have actually gotten so far might suggest that the rate of divorce prior to the 15th year for more recent marriages 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 mindful however ultimately, as a result, being more successful in their marriages.

In summary, it would seem probably that the increase in divorces in 2010 is a spike, as witnessed in previous periods of recession, instead of a longer term trend. There is still proof in the age and period of those getting divorced to support the larger photo that couples are being more effective in marriage, however just time will tell.

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