In the United States alone, research has shown that 40-50% of first marriages will end in divorce or permanent separation. The risk of divorce for second marriages is even higher at 60%. Although divorce has always been common in American society, divorce has become more common over the last 50 years, and the divorce rate has remained historically high since. The facts make it seem like marriage is more of a game of chance, but in reality, there are several factors that contribute to divorce. These factors include age, level of education, amount of income, premarital cohabitation, premarital pregnancies, religious affiliation, parental divorce, and insecurity.
Young age: Marriage at a young age increases the chance of divorce, especially within the early years of said marriage. Couples who marry in their teens have a higher chance for divorce than couples who marry in their twenties. Specifically, the rate drops drastically at around the ages of 21 or 22. This is because couples who delay marriage until their 20s are more mature, and thus able to make better marriage decisions as well as able to handle the challenges of married life.
Level of education: As compared to couples who did not finish high school, couples who have some college education have a lower chance of divorce. Education helps to build a foundation for better marriages, and helps couples to make better decisions in their married life.
Amount of income: Closely related to level of education, as compared to individuals who make less than $25,000, individuals who make more than $50,000 have a much lower chance of divorce. Having a higher income helps couples avoid some of the stresses that can lead to divorce, and finances are one of the biggests stressors, especially in the beginning of a marriage.
Premarital cohabitation: Couples who have lived together prior to marriage have an average chance of divorce, however, couples who have lived together with several people have a much higher risk of divorce. Researchers think that cohabitating can actually hinder a couple’s commitment to each other and the importance of marriage, and that only increases with the number of people also cohabiting with a couple.
Premarital pregnancies: Pregnancy and childbearing prior to marriage significantly increase the likelihood of divorce. In America alone, one-third of children are born to unmarried parents, and few such parents eventually marry. Most of these parents will separate before the child starts school, and some are never together in the first place.
Religious affiliation: Couples with no religious affiliation have a somewhat higher chance to divorce than those who are religious. If couples share the same religious affiliation, then their chance to divorce is even lower.
Parental divorce: Individuals with divorced parents have double the risk of also getting divorced. If both members of a couple have divorced parents, that more than triples the rate of divorce. This suggests that individuals who experienced the divorce of their parents need to work harder than usual to to make good marriage choices and to keep a marriage strong and happy.
Insecurity: Individuals who are self-conscious and insecure about themselves or their self-worth are more likely to become unhappy in their marriage over time. However, with hard work and the right partner, insecurity and other personality characteristics can be overcome.
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