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Is the divorce rate in America going down?

Rhode Island residents may have heard the old adage that about half of marriages will end in divorce. However, is this really true? A recent study says, "no."

According to new data from Bowling Green State University's National Center for Family & Marriage Research, the divorce rate in the United States has gone down for the third year in a row, and in fact is at its lowest level in over three decades. Per this year's calculations, the rate of divorce has gone down in 2015 from 17.6 per thousand married women aged 15 or older in 2014 to 16.9 per thousand. The rate had peaked in 1980 at 23. In the meantime, marriage rates are slightly up -- sitting at just over 32 marriages for every 1,000 unmarried females at or above 15-years-old. In 2014 that number sat at just under 32 marriages.

Why has the rate of divorce gone down? It's hard to say. Some factors that could have affected this year's divorce rate may include the fact that the U.S. population is growing older and changes in the traditional marital gender roles.

Keep in mind, however, that the decline in divorce rates may not last forever. For example, the baby boomer generation in general has continued to marry, divorce and remarry even as they have aged. Whether younger generations will also do so has yet to be seen. Another point that might affect the

divorce rate in the future is that younger generations in general these days wait until they are older to marry. Also, some sociologists still hold on to the 50-50 statistic as far as divorce rates go. They cite that while younger people are divorcing less, older people are divorcing more.

In the end, what is important to remember is that these days no one -- young or old -- has to remain in an unhappy marriage. Divorce is one option that may be in the best interests of a Rhode Island couple whose marriage is crumbling. While many divorce issues need to be ironed out, such as child custody, child support, property division and spousal support, once these decisions have been made, both parties can move on from their marriage and into the future.

Source: Bloomberg, "Divorce in U.S. Plunges to 35-Year Low," Ben Steverman, Nov. 17, 2016

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