Divorce dropping among college-educated, says public policy expert


A recent study shows that no-fault divorce leads to a 10-percent increase in the divorce rate and that divorce is dropping among college graduates.

The study was released by the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy. The institute’s founder, Maggie Gallagher, shared the results of the study she coauthored with Douglas Allen in an interview with Newsweek. The interview is featured in the July 23 edition of the magazine.

Gallagher and Allen examined every empirical study of no-fault-divorce rates in the U.S. and abroad. They found that in 17 of the 24 studies, the divorce rate increases in the first 20 years after no-fault divorce is legalized. Furthermore, she says, “there is a long-term increase in divorce rates after no-fault laws are implemented, most [of the reports say it’s] between 5 and 30 percent.”

Gallagher explains that no-fault divorce increases the divorce rate because “it becomes easier to divorce, less penalized by law.” However, it tapers off after 10 years or so because “young couples delay marriage and search harder for a better spouse.”

Gallagher notes that the increased divorce rate cannot be attributed solely to no-fault divorce. Other factors she cites include: the sexual revolution, the increase in women working outside the home, the general decline of social norms and support for marriage behavior, and declining wages for non-college-educated men.

Marriage is important, says Gallagher, because it protects children. “Children born inside a marriage have all sorts of financial and psychological advantages,” she adds.

She also notes that the risk of divorce is dropping among college-educated people.

“Meanwhile, divorce rates for the rest of America are rising, as is childbearing outside of marriage,” she says.

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