Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Friday 17 September |
Saint of the Day: St. Hildegard of Bingen
home iconNews
line break icon

Divorce in America is down, but so are new marriages


Jure Divich | Shutterstock

John Burger - published on 11/12/20 - updated on 11/12/20

Study finds that break-ups are at a 50-year low.

Divorce in America is down, but so is the number of people getting married.

Those are the findings of a recent look at new data, analyzed by the conservative Institute for Family Studies.

Looking at newly released numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau, Wendy Wang, director of research for the IFS, said that divorce 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,” Wang wrote. “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.”

Wang noted that a lower divorce rate translates into 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.”

Even the COVID-19 crisis, with all the domestic stress a lockdown can bring, has not impacted negatively in this area. Citing new findings from the American Family Survey, Wang said the pandemic “has actually brought some couples closer to each other. … A majority of married Americans (58%) say that the pandemic has made them appreciate their spouse more and half agree that their commitment to marriage has deepened. Moreover, initial data from some states suggests that divorce filings have indeed declined. It is likely that divorce may increase a bit after COVID-19 because of the pent-up demands, but the overall decline in divorce appears to be a consistent trend.“

Wang called this “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,” she said. 

However, the new Census data also show the U.S. marriage rate hitting 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, Wang noted.

“What’s worse, all signs point to a continuing downward trend for new marriages,” she said. “On top of the already record high share of never-married adults, Americans are postponing their marriage plans because of the pandemic. The initial state-level data suggests that a dramatic decline in marriage certificates filed during the COVID-19 crisis. Given that ‘can’t afford a wedding’ and ‘not having a stable job’ ranked high on the reasons why today’s singles are not married, it is reasonable to predict that fewer singles will tie the knot amidst a pandemic when financial distress is high.”


Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Cerith Gardiner
Our favorite stories of celebrities who inspire us in daily life
Philip Kosloski
How receiving Holy Communion can drive away demons
Kathleen N. Hattrup
Pope considers what to do with pro-abortion Catholic politicians
Berthe and Marcel
Lauriane Vofo Kana
This couple has the longest marriage in France
As irmãs biológicas que se tornaram freiras no instituto Iesu Communio
Francisco Veneto
The 5 biological sisters who joined the religious life in just tw...
Philip Kosloski
Why is the feast of the Holy Cross celebrated on September 14?
Philip Kosloski
This prayer to St. Anthony is said to have “never been known to f...
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.