Monday, August 20, 2007

Easy divorce has not raised average marital happiness

Liberals told us in the 1960s that America needed no-fault divorce to allow unhappy people to split up. By making divorce easy, the average satisfaction of married people would rise as the unhappy ones joined the ranks of single people. Well, that seems perfectly rational, right, so California passed a no-fault divorce law in 1970--a trend which quickly spread to the rest of the country. GSS data from 1973-2006 shows us that their prediction was incorrect. The top graph is for married men, and the bottom is for women. For both groups, the percent who are very happily married has dropped about five percent points over the past 35 years. I plan to post several analyses on family matters over the next week or two, so I'll comment on this later.


  1. Anonymous3:27 PM

    Ah, but don't they always claim to do it to make the children happier?

  2. Anonymous3:47 PM

    I think you are beating a dead horse. The divorce rate reached its peak in 1981 and has been steadily declining since.

    I think marrage is actually more stable today than it was in the 70's and 80's because there is less pressure put on people to get married who do not want to be married. Thus, the people who want to be married do get married and tend to stay that way. Also, people tend to marry later, when they have figured out their life goals and what not and are, thusly, more committed to the long-term aspects.


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