Cohen Comments on Falling Divorce Rate on

In a special report about falling divorce rates, Professor Lloyd Cohen comments on the effects of income and education on the rate of divorce in America.

According to Cohen, the increase in wealth and income of the postwar period encouraged the termination of marriages because "divorce no longer meant living in abject poverty for many people; women's greater labor force participation and earnings has allowed both parties to bail out more easily."

In today's world, people are marrying at an older age than they did in the past. Cohen says, "This is in part a function of more education taking more time to complete, and in part because there is a greater sense of marriage as being a less secure institution."

A big spike in divorce rates in the postwar period, particularly the 1970s, generally is attributed to the entry of large numbers of women to the workforce and the relaxation of divorce laws. However, over the past few decades, the divorce rate has fallen in America as the average age for marriage has risen and couples have become more adept at managing the two-income life that exists today.

As Two-Income Family Model Matures, Divorce Rate Falls,, May 7, 2012. By David Milstead.

"According to the Census Bureau, the median age at first marriage has risen from 23 for men and 20 for women in 1950 to 28 for men and 26 for women in 2009.

“'That older age is so pivotal, in terms of people being smarter about the characteristics they’re looking for, the kind of person they’re looking for, in terms of stability after they’re married,' adds Parkman.

"And many marriages that might have ended in divorce are not occurring in the first place. Nearly 90 percent of men born from 1940 to 1944 got married by age 35; that rate fell 14 percentage points for the group born between 1965 and 1969.

"Suzanne Doyle-Morris, author of 'Female Breadwinners: How They Make Relationships Work and Why They are the Future of the Modern Workplace,' believes improved education levels and later-in-life marriages are the biggest factors in the divorce decline."

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