NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Offspring Of Broken Homes Divorcing Less Readily

August 11, 1999

As adults, children raised by divorced mothers are much more likely to divorce than those from two-parent homes. But that trend is fast subsiding, according to a survey by University of Utah sociologist Nicholas Wolfinger.

  • Compared to those whose parents stayed together, adults raised by divorced mothers have a 49 percent higher split- up rate -- down from 172 percent higher in 1973.
  • They have a 34 percent higher rate of teen-age marriage -- compared to a 76 percent higher rate 20 years ago.
  • Adults raised by divorced mothers are 5 percent less likely to get married -- although the rate was 36 percent higher in the mid-1970s.

People who grew up with divorce may be more likely to cohabit rather than get married, Wolfinger theorizes.

Teen marriage is declining for both children from divorced households, as well as those from intact homes. Lower adult marriage rates could reflect a "sleeper effect" -- the difficulty of establishing and maintaining committed relationships, experts surmise.

Source: Marilyn Elias, "Study: Cycle of Divorce Is Abating," USA Today, August 11, 1999.


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