Divorce rates in Michigan are, surprisingly, lower than in the rest of the United States as a whole. Then again, so are the marriage rates. Over the last ten years or so, Michigan has seen a steady decline in both it’s marriage and divorce rates. This has raised some interesting speculation as to why.
Why are fewer Michiganians getting divorced… and married?
Most people attribute the decline in marriage rates to the fact that people are choosing to get married at an older age. Another reason may be that more couples are choosing to live together over tying the knot. But even these answers present more questions than they dispel.
As it turns out, people’s perspectives on marriage are changing. It’s no longer viewed as that holy grail toward which all teenage girls should aspire. Nor is it looked at as a safe haven anymore, that’ll save a woman from poverty and loneliness, or a man from dying of malnutrition.
We now view marriage in a different light.
According to an article published in the New York Times on marriage, “…it’s not that we’re doing a worse job at marriage than our ancestors did. It’s that we demand different things from marriage than in the past. And marriage demands different things from us now”
“Until recently, women who married later than average had higher rates of divorce. Today, with every year a woman delays marriage, up to her early 30s, her chance of divorce decreases, and it does not rise again thereafter.” says Stephanie Coontz in her article The Disestablishment of Marriage.
Which may explain why fewer people are getting married…
According to University of Maryland sociologist Philip Cohen, marriage rates across the US declined from 90 annual marriages per 1,000 unmarried women, to a paltry 31, which is an unprecedented 66% decline.
Much of this is attributed to the shifting attitudes that surround marriage, and also divorce. Marriage is becoming less and less of an institution in people’s lives. And with each passing year, divorce has less and less of a social stigma. Gone are the days in which an unmarried 30-year-old woman was thought to be a pitiable spinster, and a man with three divorces under his belt was treated like a social pariah.
So how does this reflect on Michigan’s divorce rate?
Well, most Michigan residents have very similar views to those living around the rest of the country. So it’s very likely that change in marital and divorce perspectives here in the Mitten State don’t differ much from those in the rest of the country.
In Detroit alone, half of the adult residents are listed as being unmarried. However, a vast majority of these adults live with partners in cohabitational living situations that are becoming very much the norm.
Michigan is no different from the rest of the country.
It is a fact that Michigan’s divorce rate has almost doubled since the introduction of the no-fault divorce law in 1973. But whether the law’s “easy divorce” has made people take vows less seriously, as some people believe is the case, or whether it is simply a reflection of widespread social change, people are reshaping their views on marriage and divorce, both in Michigan and across the US.