When it comes to marriage, we've been conditioned to expect disaster. For so long, we've heard people say that half of marriages end in divorce and that the divorce rate is rising — but neither are true. In fact, as an article on The New York Times' Upshot blog details, American marriages are stronger today than they have been in a long time. Ever since the divorce rate peaked in the '70s and early '80s, it's been steadily declining.
Claire Cain Miller has more:
About 70 percent of marriages that began in the 1990s reached their 15th anniversary (excluding those in which a spouse died), up from about 65 percent of those that began in the 1970s and 1980s. Those who married in the 2000s are so far divorcing at even lower rates. If current trends continue, nearly two-thirds of marriages will never involve a divorce, according to data from Justin Wolfers, a University of Michigan economist (who also contributes to The Upshot).
Among the reasons given by the Times for the decline in divorces are later marriages, birth control, and a higher rate of marrying for love as opposed to reasons like monetary gain or housekeeping skills.
Unfortunately, though, it's not all good news: Class is a clear dictator of how successful marriages are. Whereas the decline in divorce is mainly concentrated among couples with college degrees, the divorce rates are just as high as they were decades ago among couples with less education (who tend to be poorer).
As with many aspects of American life, things are sunnier on the wealthier side. But we're glad to see that love is on the rise, which means more children will grow up benefiting from the stability of their parents' marriage. Maybe, if successful marriages feel more like the norm at some point, children will be more optimistic about their future relationships — which, in turn, would lead to better relationships.