Don’t count your anniversaries until they hatch

Recent news reports have indicated that statistics show the American divorce rate has continued on the rise. But a recent update says the truth is the reverse. Divorce is at an all time low. Why the difference?

The study apparently asked the question – out of all marriages between 1975 and 1979 – how many had made it to the 25th anniversary mark. The study was conducted in the middle of 2004. Can you see the problem? Half of the marriages in 1979 (The latter half) couldn’t chronologically have made it to 25 years at the time the study was conducted. So all those marriages, whether they had lasted 24.5 years or not, were counted as divorces.

This is being referenced as a ‘glitch’ in the study.

I’m sorry. That’s not a glitch. That’s stupidity. I’m not saying I’m a professional when it comes to research studies, but I think it is common sense to wait until the time period that is being studied has come to an end before analyzing the data.

0 thoughts on “Don’t count your anniversaries until they hatch

  1. DL Emerick

    The “1979” data still say, even if adjusted on the ad hoc basis that the authors suggest, “Once these [late-term] marriages are added to the mix, it turns out that a majority of couples who tied the knot from 1975 to 1979 — about 53 percent — reached their silver anniversary.”

    FANCY THAT: A MARRIAGE HAS A 50-50 CHANCE OF SURVIVING 25 YEARS.

    The authors say, in conclusion and quite with any explanation, “The facts are that divorce is down, and today’s marriages are more stable than they have been in decades.” There are two critical related facts. First, that people are not marrying, at least not as rapidly, in these later demographic cohorts.

    For example, we find this statement, elsewhere: “In fact in the last 20 years, both men and women show a considerable increase in age at marriage. Men are now on average two years older when they marry then the mean age of marriage for men in 1980. Women are three years older on average now, than the mean marriage age in the 1980.” From http://www.wisegeek.com/how-has-the-average-age-at-marriage-changed-over-time.htm

    Beyond that, there are such factors as the cohabitation rate and an increase in the “married but living separately rate”. See http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/pressroom/02news/div_mar_cohab.htm, for example. When it is a childless event, cohabitation is far less expensive than divorce.

    Similarly, living separately, without a formal divorce, is also increasingly popular, again because divorce is considerably more expensive.

    What happens in divorce. First, you confront the greed of lawyers — all that they are ever wanting to do is to suck the green blood of clients that we euphemistically call “money”. Second, to aggravate the first offense, lawyers encourage their clients each to think of their own personal (and petty) financial position after divorce — which is like throwing fuel on a raging fire.

    Perhaps, the alternate to divorce is too horrible to consider:
    http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/homicide/intimates.htm. Nonetheless, it should be noted that the population segment “white female” seems to be experiencing the same levels of homicide as it has for the last 40 years, while for other population segments, the incidence of violence is dramatically down.

    The other way of saying this. When a homicide affects a male, there is only a small and remote chance (ca 2.5%) that he was killed by a lover. However, when the decedent was a female, that chance sky-rockets to some rate well above 30%. Men are far more likely to kill their females, than conversely.

    (It is true, empirically, apparently, however, that the longer a man has been partner to a woman, the more likely she is to kill him. For females, curiously, the danger factor is large and constant — and, indeed, if the marriage lasts long enough, even diminishes, over time.)

    Beyond the partner, there is the extension of family into children. Here, it should be noted that increasing numbers of Americans are ever more likely to be assaulted by a member of the true “first circle” — a related member of the primary household. See, for example, http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0021-9347%28199306%2923%3A4%3C515%3AAAFHPI%3E2.0.CO%3B2-X&size=LARGE&origin=JSTOR-enlargePage.

    ***

    So, speaking solely as a geek, is it wise to rush in where fools have dared to go?

    No, my friends, there are no friends, nor are there lovers in this world. (There is no other world (on which we have marital data, so there is simply no comparison, either.) Read Reb Derrida: THE POLITICS OF FRIENDSHIP. Or, for a synoptic, on a special and pertinent kind of friendship, see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dj1BuNmhjAY.

    Or, you may read Reb Arendt, where she writes on St. Augustine’s (and her own) ideas of love. (Arendt, you may recall, was the sometime-paramour of that famous Kraut-philosophe Heidegger, whose life Spyri may have portrayed, prophetically or prosaically, in the charmante tale Heidi — about the impossible love between an old man and young girl, in the lower Alps. (Please note, do not become distracted by Heidi Klum: