Wednesday, December 19, 2018

2010 Divorce Rates and Longer Term Trends


January 8, 2018  

On 8th December, the Office of National Statistics (ONS) launched the current figures on divorces occurring in 2010. Having just recently discussed the patterns over current years, and exactly what this informs us about the health of marital relationship as an organization, it deserves thinking about how these newest statistics affect the bigger image.

The headline is that the number of divorces in 2010 rose; the very first annual rise in eight years (since 2003) and seemingly out of step with the broader pattern. The overall variety of divorces that happened in 2010 came to 119,589 representing a 4.9% boost on 2009’s 113,949 divorces. Although, on the surface area, this does appear to recommend a rise 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 a sign of a more comprehensive shift in societal mindsets it is most likely that the results for 2010 mark a glitch in a longer term decrease in divorce rates. This type of problem or spike in divorce rates has been seen at other points in recent history when the country has been on the tail end of an economic downturn. In 1993 the rate increased following the economic downturn between 1990 and 1992. There appears to have been a lag in between the worst of the financial problems and a jump in divorces and it appears plausible that this could likewise mean causality; monetary issues are among the significant causes of relationship breakdowns and the lag might be described by a) a preliminary response to pull together’ to handle cash problems, b) the develop of subsequent pressures in the relationship and after that, c) when the relationship has actually broken down, the time it takes for divorce procedure itself to finish.

In regards to the more comprehensive picture, the actual number of divorces has been significantly falling for the last years although it is easy to attribute this to the corresponding fall in marriages and previous divorce patterns deteriorating the size of the married population in the very first place. The fact that the divorce rate has been gradually falling too recommends that those who are married are less most likely to split.

More evidence comes from the profile of those couples included. More divorces involved people aged 40-44 than other age in 2010 however interestingly it seems that the age at which individuals divorce is creeping up (both males and females had 0.2 increases to 44.2 and 41.7 respectively), albeit in line with the increase in the age at which individuals are weding, whilst the period of marital relationships has actually plateaued. Furthermore, the highest rate of divorces for males in 2010 was seen in the 30-34 years of age age rather than the 25-29 group in 2009 (women were unchanged). This might all suggest that marriages are starting later on however are starting to last a little longer.

Despite the latest figures telling us that 33% of marriages starting in 1995 had actually 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 up until now might show that the rate of divorce prior to the 15th year for more recent marriages may be most likely to decrease. Again this adds a little bit more weight to the argument that pairs now appear to be waiting longer (cohabiting), being more cautious but ultimately, as a result, being more successful in their marital relationships.

In summary, it would seem more than likely that the increase in divorces in 2010 is a spike, as seen in previous periods of economic downturn, rather than a longer term pattern. There is still evidence in the age and period of those getting separated to support the larger picture that couples are being more successful in marriage, but only time will tell.

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