Why The Massachusetts Divorce Rate is Low: Few Get Married


CitizenLink reports:

For the first time in 20 years, the U.S. Census Bureau’s National Center for Health Statistics has released a detailed, state-by-state look at marriage rates nationwide.

... The statistics reflected regional differences. For instance, divorce rates are higher than the national average in the Southeast (10.2 per 1,000 men and 11.1 per 1,000 women) because marriage rates are higher there, and lower in the Northeast (7.2 for men and 7.5 for women) because people there tend to marry at older ages and less often.


  1. Jamie Ward
    Posted August 26, 2011 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    So do you want stable, loving marriages between committed couples that are prepared for lifelong marriage, or do you just want as many people to get married as possible, even if they are unprepared for marriage? It's kind of the difference between buying one mercedes and having it for life or buying 20 yugos. I'm disappointed you are advocating for lots of yugos.

  2. Bryce K.
    Posted August 26, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    Ditto to what Jamie said.

  3. Louis E.
    Posted August 26, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    There is no point in anyone getting married where marriage is not required to be opposite-sex.Any opposite-sex couples in Massachusetts should make a point of holding and registering their weddings in non-SSM states.

  4. Natalie
    Posted August 26, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    @Jamie...I am pretty sure that the point of this is that less people are committing to relationships, therefore divorce rates are lower, in proportion to number of marriages in some areas. Where marriage rates are higher, divorce rates are higher. I don't think that means anyone is advocating for marriages for unready or unwilling participants. Its an important thing to consider when looking at the trends...of course if less people are married, less divorce will occur.

  5. DanielJ
    Posted August 26, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    Jamie and Bryce, if you're implying that NOM advocates getting married when you are unready just so you can be married and then ending it later, then you are mistaken. If I missed something from a previous conversation on another post, then my apologies.

    I think they are making an observation about the reason for mow numbers of divorces in some states, because some SSM advocates were claiming that there was some sort of correlation (which, as it turns out, there is not) between the legality and presence of SSM and lower divorce rates. I'm pretty sure this is an informative follow-up on that issue, and not much else.

  6. dn
    Posted August 26, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    The correlation between marriage equality and heterosexual marriage was made by anti-gays, actually. Theyre the ones claiming the sky will fall once gays have the same legal, civil, protections as them.

  7. Dana
    Posted August 26, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    I think the point here is that there is a lower emphasis on morality in states where SSM is legal, therefore you have a larger number of folks who have relations outside of marriage (even with kids) deciding to not get married. Commitment is just not required anymore. Sad.

  8. Marty
    Posted August 26, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    I think the bigger point is that in Mass and most other liberal states, fewer and fewer people are even bothering to get married anymore.

    Which should tell you a thing or two about how much esteem they have for the institution.

  9. Barb
    Posted August 26, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    What Marty said, along with the fact that young couples are leaving MA in droves because the nanny state has virtually no jobs.

  10. Louis E.
    Posted August 26, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    DN,actually allowing same-sex sexual relationshops the legal civil protections that relationships need to be opposite-sex for there to be any legitimate public interest in allowing them IS ":the sky falling in",and we need to put the sky back up by abolishing those undeserved protections!

  11. Daughter of Eve
    Posted August 26, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    You reap what you sow, even in "progressive" MA.

  12. Anselmo
    Posted August 26, 2011 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    No matter what the reason the divorce rate is still higher and if NOM was truly wanting to protect marriage they would be working to end divorce and the causes of divorce. Marriage equality is not the cause of divorce.

  13. Woody
    Posted August 26, 2011 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

    Since there are no same sex marriages sanctioned in the Southeast, then the higher divorce rates there cannot possibly be attributed to same sex marriage.

    The operative term here is "rate". In both cases, the numbers are normalized by calculating the number of divorces per 1,000. So the fact that more people marry in the Southeast is irrelevant because we are talking about the number of divorces per 1000 marriages.

  14. Louis E.
    Posted August 26, 2011 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

    Anselmo,divorce weeds out failed marriages.The thing that marriage needs to be defended against is the treatment of same-sex sexual relationships as if they were of sufficient worth to qualify as marriages.

  15. Woody
    Posted August 27, 2011 at 2:06 am | Permalink

    Louis, I'm sure that you'll agree that many relationships between men and women are not worthy of the title of marriage, otherwise they wouldn't be failed marriages gone divorce, right? Well guess what- the government is not in the business of determining who should get married based on the quality of the potential marriage. If it was , half of the opposite sex marriages would have never been allowed. So who are we to dictate who should marry who, based on our perception of what a quality marriage is? Shouldn't mutually consenting adults have the right to make their own decisions about their own personal lives?

  16. Louis E.
    Posted August 27, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    Woody,unless those consenting adults are of opposite sexes,no public interest is served by recognizing their relationship as a marriage.The government has no business recognizing relationships unless doing so serves a public interest.

  17. catholicdad
    Posted August 27, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    Anselmo: You are correct. Pseudo-marriage is not the cause of quickie divorce.

    It is instead a logical outcome of it.

  18. Woody
    Posted August 27, 2011 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    Louis, I know many married couples, both same and opposite sex. From what I understand, none of them seem to have married to serve some public interest. All of them have married to serve their own personal interests, which include companionship, love, health, finances, inheritance, starting a family and citizenship to name a few. Now if these personal interests result in serving some public interest (ie less dependence on the government for providing health care insurance for the unmarried or less dependence on the government for child support) then so be it. However few people that I'm aware of married primarily or solely for the purpose of serving some public interest. I think that many will agree that people marry one another, not some institution.

    I think that many will also agree that even if some couples do marry solely to serve a public interest, not one of them has or will be required to explain on a marriage license application WHY they are getting married. This is because the government doesn't require that any marriage union serves a public interest. The government simply doesn't care why couples get married, never did so why should it care now? Arguing that same sex couples should not be allowed to marry based on some notion that it doesn't serve a public interest makes no sense when considering the facts. For example, if 2 dudes marrying one another means one less individual or individuals depending on the government for health insurance,then it is arguable that the government savings to be used on other initiatives serves a public interest. Why is that not clear?

  19. catholicdad
    Posted August 27, 2011 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

    Woody: QWhat is not clear, is your grasp of the difference between marrying for self-interest, and expecting the society to extend special privileges to a given self-interest.

    I might be self interested in collecting every Brooks Robinson baseball card ever issued. I might form an association of like-minded Robinsonites, and indeed we might provide a great deal of societal benefit through our Annnual Brooks Robinson Charity baseball Card Auction (indeed, the state would doubtless recognize this last as a matter of true societal benefit and grant us tax or other benefits for the event).

    But there is *nothing whatever about our activities that constitutes a societal benefit remotely comparable to marriage, which secures the next generation of the human race*.

    I would dearly love to imagine that you could stop, read the above sentence five times very slowly, and begin to recover from the profoundly moral disorientation which has rendered you unable to discern the folly of your advocacy for the delusional and solipsistic arguments of the pseudo-marriage movement.

    In any event, marriage is privileged not because it benefits the married.

    Marriage is privileged because it benefit *everyone*, that is, the *society as whoile* precisely because it secures the next generation and its nurture.

    To allow the arrogance of the me me me me and my my my my benefits crowd to get hold of an axe with which to smash this most basic and important of humanity's institutions, would constitute probably conclusive evidence that we had lost, as a society, our moral fitness to survive.

  20. Louis E.
    Posted August 27, 2011 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

    Woody,all legal benefits adhering to marriage have to be justified by there being a public interest to granting them.The government is not there to facilitate our personal preferences.If the institution of marriage did not serve a public interest its existence as a legal entity could not be justified...and unless it serves to guarantee to opposite-sex relationships the preferential treatment to which their being opposite-sex entittles them,it CAN NOT serve a public interest.

  21. Woody
    Posted August 28, 2011 at 1:54 am | Permalink

    Another nice thing about this study is that it shows that SSM in Massachusetts has not had an impact on the marriage rates there. Remember- SSM was supposed to destroy marriage. The interesting thing is that things have stayed th same in MA except that more have access to marriage.

  22. Emily
    Posted August 28, 2011 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    How exactly is divorce a "logical outcome" of allowing people of the same sex to marry?

    Are married straight couples suddenly going to divorce because they feel their personal relationships are affected by what the gay couple down the street does with their relationship status? So much for all the supposed altruism of getting married "for the good of society."

    If straight couples are that petty regarding their own marriages, maybe they're too fragile to handle being married in the first place.

  23. Bryce K.
    Posted August 28, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    And Louis, if you feel same-sex marriage would devalue your marriage, then that's your problem. Yes, I know you aren't married. But cut the "devaluation of marriage" crap you've spewn on so many other threads.

  24. Bruce
    Posted August 28, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    "The government is not there to facilitate our personal preferences."

    So Thomas Jefferson was just kidding when he talked about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?

  25. Louis E.
    Posted August 28, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    Woody,the legalization of SSM CONSTITUTES the destruction of marriage,since marriage properly defined no longer exists anywhere same-sex relationships are treated as if of no lesser worth.(Bryce,if you think it doesn't devalue it,that's your problem).

    Bruce,Jefferson was talking about government getting out of people's way,not giving them tax breaks or being forced to presume that anything that makes anyone happy has to be right.

  26. Herb S
    Posted August 28, 2011 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

    Mississippi has a lower marriage rate than Massachusetts. In fact the marriage rater in every state in the Union has fallen. Miss's has dropped over 50% since 1990 while Mass's has dropped 20%. Taking a look at the Census data says this issue is a "red herring".

  27. Alan
    Posted August 28, 2011 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

    About the pursuit of happiness... what about the people who can only be happy in sexual relations with children under 10? Or the person who finds joy in mass murder? Who are we to get in the way of their happiness? The line must be drawn somewhere. It was drawn a long time ago, and by gradually pushing it back as society is, we're eventually going to be going downhill so fast we can't get back up anymore.

    On a different note, anybody truly in favor of traditional marriage is also very much against divorce. I'd love to see divorce totally outlawed, except in cases of physical abuse or other _actual_ problems. Society would be much stronger. Selfishness is what destroys society.

  28. Corinna
    Posted September 1, 2011 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

    I agree Alan. If we take a recent look at history. And not too far was never discussed. Issues surrounding sex only grew, festered, and so on, and so on. I would love to marry the man I've been with for 10 years now. He was forced into his first marriage and now says he doesn't think it matters. Well it really matters to me. But my point is that people do not back up what marriage is meant to be. I see marriage as a lifelong commitment of love, honoring and cherishing the man I love until death us do part. I am a woman who loves our Lord Jesus Christ. My boyfriend struggles with his beliefs. I feel I was placed in his life to teach him, support him and let him know how very much he is loved, by God, who gave his son on the cross for all sin. Sexual Sin included. Enough with this Same Sex Stuff.....It is not going to work out very well. It will be another barrier being built that will hold back future generations from knowing the truth. My 23 old son doesn't want kids because of all this demoralizing things in the world right now. So my sisters and brothers, let's keep prayer and God first. Listen for what His will is for us each day, each hour, each minute. Nuff said for now...

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