We are in a social crisis, a relationship crisis so to speak. Probably some would disagree with this fact. Most would probably look at the decline in divorce rate and see it as a clear indicator for why relationships are enduring in the first part of the 21st century. Again, that should be juxtaposed with the following facts . Couples who live together without marrying have increased tenfold since 1960.Marriages have declined by nearly 30 percent during that time, so in other words, just because divorce rates are declining does not mean that break-up rates between couples are declining, since there have been no broad studies that look at break-up rates. So if we take a different perspective on the situation, we can trace an unprecedented boom in divorce rates occurring in the 70s. Thirty years after , our collective consciousness has focused more critically on the institution of marriage and now we tend to regard marriage with a relatively high degree of skepticism. So what exactly is going on? I’m not a sociologist, but here are some general conclusions I have made based on anecdotal evidence: In some countries, there was no divorce, simply because of an absence of a legal means to procure one. In 1701, couples in Maryland were granted the right to divorce. If you happened to live in South Carolina, you would have to wait until 1949 to be able to do so. According to statistics gathered by the US Census Bureau, in 1900, the rate of divorce for males was 84 per 100,000 and 114 per 100,000 for women. The rate grew steadily as the 20th century progressed, and during the Great Depression of the 1930s, it was sitting at 489 per 100,000 for men and 572 per 100,000 for women. After World War II, the divorce rate continued to increase. In 1950, the rate was sitting at 1,070 per 100,000 for men and 1,373 per 100,000 for women. Historically, divorce rate statistics continued to rise steadily, and the numbers took a big jump in the 1970s. This may have been due to the fact that the 70s was a decade when no-fault divorce was first made available. Before that point, anyone who wanted divorce had to prove allegations of adultery or cruelty. Being able to obtain divorce , because the marriage had broken down due to irreconcilable differences may have been a factor in the increase in divorce rates during this decade. By 1980, divorce rates for men had grown to 4,539 per 100,000 and 6,577 per 100,000 for females. According to the most recent statistics gathered by the US Census Bureau (2000), the divorce rate for men was 9,255 per 100,000 and 12,305 per 100,000 for women. In Canada, divorce was not common until after the end of the Second World War. According to figures collected by Statistics Canada, the divorce rate in 1921 was 6.4 per 100,000 people. This rate has continued to rise through subsequent decades, despite the fact that until 1968, the only way that a couple could get a divorce was to make an application to the Senate. After an investigation, if the case had merit, a special Act of Parliament was needed to end the marriage. In 1968, the Divorce Act came into effect. Couples could be granted a divorce on the grounds of adultery, cruelty, desertion, imprisonment, or separation for three years. As a result, the divorce rate increased to 54.8 per 100,000. Another big jump in the divorce rate occurred in 1985, when divorce laws were amended again. At that point, the Act was changed to allow couples to divorce after being separated for one year. As divorce became more acceptable over time and it was easier to get, it stands to reason that the rates would increase. This trend doesn’t show any sign of reversing over time. Would you rather be a single parent or procure a contract marriage?
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