Thanks to millennials, divorce rates in the U.S. are on the decline, study says

Divorce rates have declined over the past decade, according to a study by the University of Maryland. The study states that younger couples, who are less likely to get married, often have more stable and financially independent relationships. [iStockphoto]
Divorce rates have declined over the past decade, according to a study by the University of Maryland. The study states that younger couples, who are less likely to get married, often have more stable and financially independent relationships. [iStockphoto]
Published September 26

Divorce rates have declined over the past decade due, in part, because young people are aren't getting married as often or as young as prior generations, according to a study by the University of Maryland.

While it might look like young people aren't falling in love as often, it might just be a reorganizing of priorities for the younger generation.

"I've worked with some people who would be considered millennials who are working toward financial independence before settling down," said Emy Tafelski, a licensed marriage and family therapist located in St. Petersburg. "It's a good idea to find yourself before you give yourself to someone else."

Tafelski graduated with a master's degree in counseling psychology from Sofia University in California and has been practicing for five years. She said that in her practice, she tries to help people find their authentic selves, which she said can be difficult to discover until the mid-20s. In her experience, some young people do place their careers and financial independence above relationships, but that isn't such a bad thing.

"The more discerning we are on who we choose to spend our lives with, the better an outcome we will have," Tafelski said.

The study, published on Sept. 14 by Dr. Philip Cohen, shows that between 2008 to 2016 divorce rates in the United States have fallen by around 18 percent with no increase shown across any age demographic. The sharpest decline in chances of divorce is among young people, ages 18-34. Younger people are getting married less frequently, later in life and are living more financially independent than generations prior.

Chances are the decrease in divorce is set to continue, according to the study. The results are surprising considering cultural acceptance of divorce is at an all-time high, according to both a General Social Survey and a Gallop Morality poll, and young couples living together is more common and less stable than in prior years. But working against those factors is how selective the marriage process has become.

Younger people are becoming more selective on who they're willing to marry, at least on selective demographic and socioeconomic traits. It is also more likely to marry after successful cohabitation and entering into a more financially independent position, according to the study. All of these factors are contributing to marriage becoming a more rare trend, albeit more stable than it was in the past.

Contact Devin Rodriguez at [email protected] or follow @devinreports on Twitter.

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