Is the economic recovery increasing the divorce rate?

Here is an interesting article from the Orlando Sentinel. Apparently with the improving economy, people are feeling freer to get divorced.  That seems counter-intuitive to me. One would think that a bad economy would encourage divorce, but many of my colleagues have also noticed the trend that many couples have been holding it together because they didn’t think they could afford the divorce in the troubled economic waters.

The article quotes sociologist Brad Wilcox of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia,

“There’s a sort of pent-up demand for divorce after people get through tough times,” he said. “We saw that in what happened after the Great Depression, when the Depression lifted and divorce increased toward the end of the 1930s.”

I would be very interested in knowing what you think. Are people you know holding their marriages together for the recession? Will economic improvement encourage people to divorce? Comment below and tell me. I genuinely want to know.


  1. correlation does not equal causation

    The end of a relationship involves grief and loss, which takes time to be overcome. When someone steps on our toes, we react quickly to relieve the pain. But when someone steps on our feelings, we often feel helpless. We may not immediately grasp what hurts, and when we do, we may not grasp what can be done about it. Even when we’re clear that we want to change the experience, we may not know where to begin. Healthy change take time, that is why sudden and dramatic earthquakes are so overwhelming.

    • I think you are correct Akarmin. This trend merely shows a correlation. I think you hit the nail on the head with the point that dramatic experiences can cause paralysis. Could it be that the earthquake of the recession cause a bit of paralysis and that many divorces went on hold until the recession started to lift? I guess this would be the “pent of demand” argument that Wilcox made in citing the same correlation observed after the great depression. But you are right, we are, I suppose, just guessing. I would like to see more research on the effect of economic conditions on the divorce rate. Thanks for your comment!

Leave a Reply