When my kids were growing up and living with their divorced mother, me, I was always aware of a statistic which is still being thrown out by the media as the whole truth and nothing but the truth. It's a fact which, in thirty years, hasn't changed -- that half of all marriages end in divorce.
That's because each year about two million people get married, while one million get divorced.
So every year when I got my daughters' class lists I expected to see
that half the families were divorced. But they never were. [If I were a
real social scientist I would go back and check to see if all those
families are still together, but I'm grinding another ax with this
Out of twenty five kids in each class, there were maybe two kids with
divorced parents. Often I was the only one. From year to year it never
changed. So I wondered if somebody had made a mistake about the divorce
Then a TV pundit pointed out that while approximately two million
people get married every year and approximately one million get
divorced, there's a huge number that hasn't been accounted for:
The giant pool of already married people that the newlyweds join.
So when two million people get married each year, they join a crowd of 20,000,000 who are already married.
[Twenty million is just a guess, because I haven't been able to find
the actual number of married people in the country. But you get the
So if, at the end of the year, there are a total of 22,000,000 married
people, but only 1,000,000 people are getting divorced, clearly half of all
marriages aren't ending in divorce. At the same time, it's probably
not just one divorce for every twenty-two marriages. Even though one divorce in twenty-two was closer to
what my children's class list looked like.
The problem is that the media interpret the yearly statistics to make
it sound like half of all marriages end in divorce EVERY YEAR.
But even that doesn't tell the whole story, because there are new
statistics that show that marriages among the college educated are less
likely to end in divorce at all, compared to marriages among the not so
college educated. And that's just the tip of the statistical iceberg. I
stopped reading when my eyes began to glaze over.
You can check out this one site I found and try to make sense out of everything yourself:
Mostly, I think there's hope for people getting married. I think my children's generation may be getting married
later because of what they perceive as the high number of break ups.
But that may be a statistic which turns out NOT to be true.