USA - Divorce Rate Lowest in 50 Years

Arno Froese

Divorce in America has been falling fast in recent years, and it just hit a record low in 2019. For every 1,000 marriages in the last year, only 14.9 ended in divorce, according to the newly released American Community Survey data from the Census Bureau. This is the lowest rate we have seen in 50 years. It is even slightly lower than 1970, when 15 marriages ended in divorce per 1,000 marriages. 

A lower divorce rate means longer marriages. According to the new Census data, the median duration of current marriages in the U.S. has increased almost one year in the recent decade, from 19 years in 2010 to 19.8 years in 2019.

The drop in the divorce rate is likely to continue in 2020, despite the pandemic. When COVID-19 hit America in March, early signs suggested that the pandemic may have expedited divorces because of lockdown-related stress.

This is great news for Americans who are married. It means that their marriages will likely be more stable, and their children will be more likely to grow up with two married parents, which provides them the best chance for success later in life.

Even so, fewer Americans are married today to reap the many benefits associated with marriage. Another piece of news coming out of the new Census data is that the U.S. marriage rate just hit an all-time low in 2019. For every 1,000 unmarried adults in 2019, only 33 got married. This number was 35 a decade ago in 2010 and 86 in 1970.

What’s worse, all signs point to a continuing downward trend for new marriages. On top of the already record high share of never-married adults, Americans are postponing their marriage plans because of the pandemic.

This sobering news about marriage puts a damper on our hope for the future of American families. With the rates of both divorce and marriage dropping in America, we expect to see the marriage divide deepen and poor and working-class Americans increasingly disconnected from the institution of marriage. The impact of this disconnection on our family lives can be destructive, which makes it an issue that policymakers, community leaders, and scholars should continue to pay attention to.

-ifstudies.org, 10 November 2020

Arno's commentary

There are increasingly multiple reasons given for divorce. The decline is good news, but as the article indicates, it’s only partially true. 

From 1 Timothy 4, we learn that there will be apostasy, “some shall depart from the faith.” There will be “seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.” And then in verse 3 we read: “Forbidding to marry...” That definitely fits our time; marriage is on the way out. 

What about divorce? Here are the words of Jesus: “And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery” (Matthew 19:5-9).

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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