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Divorce is Down…and Up

The overall divorce rate in the U.S. has fallen over the past 25 years and younger adults are the reason why. Stats compiled by the National Center for Family & Marriage Research show that the number of Americans divorcing has fallen steadily from 1990 to 2017, from 19 to 15 per 1,000. Those under the age of 45 are largely responsible for the decline, while the divorce rate for those 50 and older has more than doubled. 

Since 1990, the divorce rate fell in every age category below 45 years old (see table). But for those categories 45 and up, the divorce rate leapt dramatically, more than doubling for those in the 55-64 year-old range. 

While the reasons for these changes are up for interpretation, it’s clear that the decrease in divorces among adults likely to have children in the home is great news—The positive impact of “intact” families on children has been well documented. 

And the effect of divorce on children often echoes into adulthood, sometimes into their 50s and 60s, according to Leila Miller, author of the book, Primal Loss, The Now-Adult Children of Divorce Speak. “And even some of the people who are married to really wonderful spouses, […] have this guillotine hanging over their head wondering in fear when this will all end. And so like one lady said for years, she would squirrel away money in her sock drawer even though her husband is amazing and would never leave. But she kept thinking: What would it be like when I’ve got to do the custody issues. I’ve got to make sure I’ve got enough money.”

Miller is our guest on this week’s Family Policy Matters radio show and podcast. There are several ways you can listen in to her interview with NC Family President John Rustin.

  • Subscribe to our podcast, so you can hear our interviews every week.
  • Search on iTunes or your podcast app for: NC Family’s Family Policy Matters podcast.
  • Tune in to one of the radio stations that carry Family Policy Matters
  • Click here to read a transcript of the show, or
  • Click below to listen online.



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