I suspect that you (as did I) will find the newest numbers on the divorce rate rather surprising.
Six Facts: Covid Divorce Rates
1. Pre-Pandemic for the U.S.
Before the pandemic began, divorce rates had been trending downward:
2. Pre-Pandemic for the States
The states with statistically higher divorce rates in 2018 included Oregon, Nevada, Texas, South Dakota, and North Carolina. Meanwhile, New York, California, North Dakota, Wisconsin and Illinois were the states with statistically lower rates:
3. During the Pandemic for five states
I thought that the constraints of lockdowns would have elevated the divorce rate. The numbers say the opposite. In the five states for which we have data, divorce continued trending downward during March, April, and May 2020:
4. The Numbers for five states
These were the numbers. During March, April, and May, the five states’ divorce rates dipped. After, only Arizona had a slight uptick:
5. U.S. Divorce Projections
If the trends in the five states were calculated for the U.S., we would have a divorce shortfall of 191,053. In 2019 there were approximate 1 million divorces.
6. The Reasons
Asked why the divorce rate was down, the experts’ opinions were varied. Some suggested couples were delaying their divorce. Not wanting to add more expense and upset to the stress of the pandemic, they were waiting for normalcy. Others hypothesize that the lockdowns enabled couples to appreciate each other more so.
The Institute for Family Studies cited these statistics:
Our Bottom Line: Marriage Markets
Looking back at traditional marriage markets and lower divorce rates, we would see the men as “breadwinners” and the women, “domestic specialists.” The demand for women could have depended on their expertise in the home and for men, their earning ability.
Now the value of marriageable men and women is based on a more diverse set of variables. With changes that include social norms, affluence, education, working women and the pill, demand and supply in marriage markets have shifted marriage and divorce rates.
In 2020, to the list, we can add “covidivorce.”
My sources and more: Bloomberg had some solid evidence on “covidivorce” that were based on this paper. In addition, the Institute for Family Studies had some data and discussion as did the Census Bureau. Please note that most of “Our Bottom Line” was in a past econlife post.