Study: Millennials, especially younger women, responsible for lower divorce rates

FILE - A newly released study reports the divorce rate in America is declining and credits Millennials for the drop. (FILE Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) -- A newly released study reports the divorce rate in America is declining and credit Millennials for the drop.

Professor Philip Cohen of the University of Maryland reported in his study that from 2008 to 2016, the U.S. divorce rate dropped by 18 percent.

Cohen stated that he derived his conclusions from comparing the number of divorces to married women. When controlling for other factors, such as an aging population, his results yielded an 8 percent decrease.

He explained:

..closer examination of age-specific divorce rates for the most recent decade shows that the overall drop has been driven entirely by younger women... It seems likely these women, who will reach longer marital durations, and who are less likely to be divorced and therefore remarried later in life, will have lower divorce rates than today’s older women.

According to the Pew Research Center in it's survey of Millennials, just 26% of Millennials are married. They are clearly waiting until they are older to marry for various reasons, the study and survey suggest.

Pew Research goes onto to report that Americans overall are getting married later in life - if at all. Twenty percent of adults older than 25 have never married. Shares of adults cohabiting and raising children outside of marriage have also increased significantly. Furthermore, the median age of marriage is now 27 for women and 29 for men, up from 20 for women and 23 for men in 1960, according to Pew Research.

"When they were the age that Millennials are now, 36% of Gen Xers, 48% of Baby Boomers and 65% of the members of the Silent Generation were married," Pew Research stated.

How does Utah fair? According to the U.S. Census Bureau, couples who marry in Utah have a 15.97 percent chance of getting a divorce. That makes the Beehive State the lowest in the country for divorce rates.

Nicholas H. Wolfinger, a professor of Family and Consumer Studies and Adjunct Professor of Sociology at the University of Utah, writes in his blog that someone who marries at 25 is over 50% less likely to get divorced than is someone who weds at age 20.

He states:

Most youthful couples simply do not have the maturity, coping skills, and social support it takes to make marriage work. In the face of routine marital problems, teens and young twenty-somethings lack the wherewithal necessary for happy resolutions ... Scholars have long known that youthful marriage is a strong predictor of divorce.

Cohen said such trends are "progress toward a system in which marriage is rarer, and more stable, than it was in the past, representing an increasingly central component of the structure of social inequality,"

The study has been submitted to the 2019 Population Association of America meeting, an annual conference featuring research.

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