That’s the question the Census Bureau answered in its May 2011 report, "Number, Timing and Duration of Marriages and Divorces: 2009." The Census Bureau collected histories from some 39,000 households and identified certain characteristics of persons who were divorced. The findings contain few surprises:
- When it comes to race, the divorce rate is fairly similar for Caucasian (10.8 percent), Black (11.5 percent) and Native American (12.6 percent) couples.
- Men tend to be divorced at a later age than women (35-to-44 as compared to 25-to-34), which is likely due to the fact that men tend to marry women who are younger than themselves.
- Men and women who attended college but did not achieve a 4-year degree were 16 to 20 percent more likely to be divorced. While one may suspect this is due to lower income, that can’t be the only factor since those with only a high school education tend to earn less than those with some college education and yet high school graduates were less likely to be divorced. Economists have suggested that a failure to finish college could occur for financial reasons or from a personal lack of drive, both of which may lead to less marital success.
- Female respondents who worked full time were 46 percent more likely to be divorced. Men’s full-time employment was somewhat less indicative of their marital status (employed men were 35 percent more likely to be divorced than those employed part-time or less).
- The rate of marriage is the same for all income levels, but marriages of low-income people are much less stable. Survey respondents who were below the poverty level were far more likely to say they were divorced. And women who were divorced were far more likely to be receiving cash assistance from the government than men who were divorced.
Source: 24/7 Wall Street.com, "The Six Demographic Characteristics of Divorce."
Hat tip to Scott D. Stewart for his post on June 10, 2011