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Impact of recession on U.S. divorce rates

A new study has revealed that fewer American couples got divorced during the recession.

Dr. Abdur Chowdhury, chair and professor of economics at Marquette University, has found that divorce rates in the United States actually decreased starting in early spring of 2008 with the deepening of the economic crisis; a trend that Chowdhury says has started to reverse.

Chowdhury argues that during the recession, few employment opportunities and reductions in the value of marital assets – particularly homes – had forced couples to remain together. In other words, he says, when an economy is in crisis and people’s incomes are low, the cost of divorce will prevent a couple from splitting regardless of the quality of their marriage.

The study further demonstrates that, as the economy started to move into a slow and moderate recovery beginning in mid-2009, the pent-up demand for divorce was released and the rates increased.

“When a couple decides to postpone divorce due to a recession, it does not usually mean their desire to ultimately split is reduced,” Chowdhury adds. “For some couples, recessions actually stoke demand for divorce, even as they make it more difficult to achieve.”

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