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NYT debunked on divorce rates in red states (JUNK SCIENCE!)
Freeper Analysis ^ | 11-16-2004 | Beelzebubba

Posted on 11/16/2004 9:30:12 AM PST by Atlas Sneezed

In a recent New York Times Article, Pam Belluck asked the question: "If blue states care less about moral values, why are divorce rates so low in the bluest of the blue states?" Pam's article went on to cite "divorce rates" from federal data showing that strongly pro-Kerry states have low divorce rates, while pro-Bush bible-belt states have high rates.

This is a deeply flawed misuse of statistics. The reported "divorce rate" is not the rate per marriage, but the rate per population. When one looks at CDC data, one finds that of the 10 states with the lowest ratio of divorces to marriage, half are blue states, half are red. The same 50-50 split holds true for the worst dozen states.

There appears to be no meaningful correlation between politics and divorce. Undoubtedly, because Kerry received most of his support from urban areas where young adults tend to defer marriage, many remain unmarried, and where unmarried gays congregate, the use of "divorce rates" per population creates a strong bias. (Would a higher "divorce rate" - per 1000 residents - among gays in San Francisco and Massachusetts have similar importance?)

The graph below shows the data, with marriage meccas Nevada and Hawaii topping the list with lowest number of divorces per marriage. College havens in New England also are high on the list, perhaps in part due to the number of young adults who live there at the time they get married, but who depart soon after, before potentially divorcing.

2004 presidential election winner is indicated by color, with a dark color indicating that the wonner took at least 55% of the state's vote.

1999 (latest) CDC data, which is incomplete for 4 states (including California) and the District of Columbia.

Data source:

http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr48/48_19_3.pdf

Chart data here:

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1281125/posts?page=13#13


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: abortion; bias; divorce; mediabias; msm; nytimes
Original NYT article here:

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1279756/posts

1 posted on 11/16/2004 9:30:12 AM PST by Atlas Sneezed
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To: Beelzebubba

Of course, people who never get married never divorce. Look at how low the marriage rate is in some of those blue states.


2 posted on 11/16/2004 9:34:10 AM PST by dangus
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To: Beelzebubba

Umm.. I may be missing something, but it doesn't seem to make a whole lot of sense to compare new marriages in a specific year with new divorces in a specific year. Seems like lots of local circumstances could fluctuate those numbers. If there were a way to look at how many total married people are in a state, and then divide the number of divorces by that number, it would be more meaningful, IMO.


3 posted on 11/16/2004 9:36:36 AM PST by cwd26
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To: dangus

Those aren't marriage "rates," they are total numbers (in thousands). You need to divide by population to get a useful rate.


4 posted on 11/16/2004 9:37:07 AM PST by Atlas Sneezed (Your Friendly Freeper Patent Attorney)
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To: Beelzebubba

I quote the NYT article "In 2003, the rate in Massachusetts was 5.7 divorces per 1,000 married people, compared with 10.8 in Kentucky, 11.1 in Mississippi and 12.7 in Arkansas."

Unless they're lying (something I wouldn't put past them), they're using Divorces/Married People, not Divorces/People.


5 posted on 11/16/2004 9:40:43 AM PST by cwd26
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To: cwd26

If there were a way to look at how many total married people are in a state, and then divide the number of divorces by that number, it would be more meaningful, IMO.



I agree. Have at it! Or send me the married population of each state in a usable (Excel) format, and I will post the results.

But I have at least shown that the NYT's use of divorce rate per population is deceptive junk. Odds are that there are at most very subtle differences among the states, and there is no reasons to suspect that conservative states tend to have more divorce, as was irresponsibly alleged.


6 posted on 11/16/2004 9:40:47 AM PST by Atlas Sneezed (Your Friendly Freeper Patent Attorney)
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To: Beelzebubba

Heck...before you can even have a divorce you have to have a marriage. The problem with this study is that liberals don't even meet the original prerequisite.


7 posted on 11/16/2004 9:40:48 AM PST by cwb (Red Dawn: A New Morning in America)
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To: dangus

For example... Massachusetts had about the same number of marriages as South Carolina, despite having nearly double the population. Tennessee has a smaller population than Mass., but double the number of weddings. Iadho and RI are similar in population, but Idaho has twice the number of marriages.

Why is this? Because the only people who get married in blue states are the ones in the strongest relationships. Trying to make this political is silly: Church-going Catholics, for instance, get divorced rarely, in part because of premarital programs and in part becuase the church discourages divorce. But Kerry lost the Catholic vote, even in Massachusetts, even among Catholics in general. And churchgoing Catholics were twice as likely as non-churchgoing Catholics to vote Republican.


8 posted on 11/16/2004 9:41:49 AM PST by dangus
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To: cwd26

I quote the NYT article "In 2003, the rate in Massachusetts was 5.7 divorces per 1,000 married people, compared with 10.8 in Kentucky, 11.1 in Mississippi and 12.7 in Arkansas."



I misread. They are cherry picking the data, and can not show a trend.


9 posted on 11/16/2004 9:42:25 AM PST by Atlas Sneezed (Your Friendly Freeper Patent Attorney)
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To: Beelzebubba

Yes, I did.


10 posted on 11/16/2004 9:42:31 AM PST by dangus
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To: Beelzebubba
There appears to be no meaningful correlation between politics and divorce. Undoubtedly, because Kerry received most of his support from urban areas where young adults tend to defer marriage, many remain unmarried, and where unmarried gays congregate, the use of "divorce rates" per population creates a strong bias.

If people in blue states tend to be smarter about making marriage decisions, isn't that something we should celebrate? If people there put off marriage until they are ready and then stay in their marriages longer, isn't that a sign they are living their lives well?

Or, the reverse: if young people in red states are getting married early and divorcing at a high rate, isn't that a sign something is wrong?

11 posted on 11/16/2004 9:43:34 AM PST by xm177e2 (Stalinists, Maoists, Ba'athists, Pacifists: Why are they always on the same side?)
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To: Beelzebubba
9% divorce rate in Nevada, versus an 87% divorce rate in Oklahoma? Is that for real?
12 posted on 11/16/2004 9:46:47 AM PST by Physicist
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To: Beelzebubba
Nevada has the lowest rate of divorce to marriage because millions of people go the Vegas to get married and then come back to Texas and get divorced.

Nevada gets credit for the marriage and Texas gets credit for the divorce.

13 posted on 11/16/2004 9:46:51 AM PST by bayourod (Specter's litmus test : "No Christian Judges")
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To: Beelzebubba

Duh! Gay marriage is still illegal!


14 posted on 11/16/2004 9:47:04 AM PST by wannabeyank (The official Voice of Reason)
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To: dangus

Yea... geez... guess they didn't take that factor into consideration!


15 posted on 11/16/2004 9:51:02 AM PST by johnny7 (“We blowed 'em up real good!” -John Candy & Joe Flaherty, SCTV)
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To: Beelzebubba

manufactured news.


16 posted on 11/16/2004 9:51:11 AM PST by Reagan79 (Ralph Stanley Rocks!)
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To: Beelzebubba

Typical liberal

They have to lie and bend the statistics to suit their point of view. They must know they are being dishonest. What is the point of trying to move people to the left with lies?


17 posted on 11/16/2004 9:57:56 AM PST by oldbrowser (You lost the election.....................Get over it.)
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To: Beelzebubba

Being divorced has nothing to do with morality. Being married has nothing to do with morality. Adultery, sodomy, abortion, etc.. have everything to do with morality.


18 posted on 11/16/2004 10:00:48 AM PST by Conspiracy Guy (Make everyday Veterans Day.)
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To: Physicist

9% divorce rate in Nevada, versus an 87% divorce rate in Oklahoma? Is that for real?



Nevada is an oddball because of all the people who go there to get married (generations ago, it used to be a destination for divorces, but not since states have liberalized their divorce laws.)

Oklahoma? I guess some research might indicate why people get divorced there. Something odd like reporting divorces form Indian reservations, but no marriages? Who knows?


19 posted on 11/16/2004 10:04:40 AM PST by Atlas Sneezed (Your Friendly Freeper Patent Attorney)
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To: Beelzebubba

Can't get divorced if you NEVER GOT MARRIED!


20 posted on 11/16/2004 10:05:45 AM PST by SMARTY ('Stay together, pay the soldiers, forget everything else." Lucius Septimus Severus, to his sons)
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To: Beelzebubba

Puhleeze. NYC and LA and SF are in the blue states. No way any state has a higher divorce rate than those areas.


21 posted on 11/16/2004 10:06:52 AM PST by MEGoody (Way to go, America! 4 more years!)
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To: Beelzebubba

The statistics ares also flawed because they don't show who is getting the divorces. Red states aren't entirely populated by Republicans.


22 posted on 11/16/2004 10:07:58 AM PST by Steve_Seattle
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To: cwd26

I agree. I live in Nevadas - 160,000 marriages to 15,000 or so divorces. Of course, plenty of folks from other states come to NV to marry in Vegas and go back to their home state and live happily ever after, or at the very least, get a divorce there.

Also, there was always a fallacy with the folks who insisted 'half of marriages end in divorce.' At any given time in the population there is a 'backlog' of several decades of married couples, and some of them get divorced, and many of them don't.

If a state has 40,000 marriages in one year and 20,000 divorces, a random dimwit would conclude that 'half of marriages end in divorce.'

That doesn't factor in, say, a 35 year backlog of married couples - some who have divorced, many who haven't, and who aren't really being factored in.


23 posted on 11/16/2004 10:16:24 AM PST by HitmanLV (I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered. My life is my own.)
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To: Beelzebubba
I wonder what the black crime rate in the blue states versus the black crime rate in the red states compares. Then I would like to see the overall crime rate of the blue versus red state comparison. Better yet, make the rates evaluated as to blue versus red COUNTIES instead of states. I believe there would be some eye opening results.
24 posted on 11/16/2004 10:48:04 AM PST by vetvetdoug (In memory of T/Sgt. Secundino "Dean" Baldonado, Jarales, NM-KIA Bien Hoa AFB, RVN 1965)
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To: Beelzebubba

25 posted on 11/16/2004 11:13:08 AM PST by Grampa Dave (FNC/ABCNNBCBS & the MSM fishwraps are the Rathering Fraudcasters of America!)
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To: Beelzebubba

There are a few stats, that the libs have a hard time massaging:

1. Murder Rates
2. Armed Robery Rates
3. Auto Theft Rates
4. Assualt rates

This data needs to be worked by county/city. California for example is a blue state, yet the real voting area for the rats are in LA, San Jose and the Bay area. I'm sure that the murder rate is very high in those cities/counties versus the rest of the state.


26 posted on 11/16/2004 11:16:59 AM PST by Grampa Dave (FNC/ABCNNBCBS & the MSM fishwraps are the Rathering Fraudcasters of America!)
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To: Beelzebubba
Comparing "red states" against "blue states" is a flawed exercise to begin with. "Blue states" are blue mainly because they have larger (and a greater number of) concentrated parasite nests (cities). Better to compare red counties against blue counties.
27 posted on 11/16/2004 11:21:09 AM PST by Lancey Howard
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To: Beelzebubba

I have a bit more data (2001).
Average difference from National average.

Marriage Rate Divorce Rate

D -0.505263158 -0.442105263
w/o HI -1.2 -0.455555556

R 2.125 0.478125
w/o NV 0.04516129 0.403225806

Data Source: http://www.census.gov/prod/2003pubs/02statab/vitstat.pdf
(last page)

I am now working on factoring in race. According to http://www.divorcereform.org/mel/adivorceusa.html :

"As of March 1997, the U.S. had more than 19 million divorced people, or 9.9 percent of those 18 and over. The
median age of divorced people is about 50, and 58 percent are women. Among whites, 9.8 percent are divorced, compared with 11.3 percent of blacks and 7.6 percent of Hispanics. Divorce rates in urban areas are higher than in rural areas."

Since Southern states have a higher population of black americans (who vote D), the southern divorce rates should be expected to be higher.

Are the liberals now saying that the Blacks are bad because they get divorced more? They've already called them a burden since the same states with higher populations of minorities (and more poor people) use more gov't/welfare money.


28 posted on 11/16/2004 12:37:24 PM PST by xusafflyer (Keep paying those taxes California. Mexico thanks you.)
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To: xusafflyer

Good work taking up the analysis.

Be careful not simply to average states with each other to get your R and D numbers. You need to do weighted averages by population.


29 posted on 11/16/2004 4:02:54 PM PST by Atlas Sneezed (Your Friendly Freeper Patent Attorney)
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To: Beelzebubba

Sorry, but I always laugh when I see headers which include charges of “junk science”, as more often than not the debunk is more “junk” than the original target. And that seems to be the case, here. In this case, the statistics you provide are even more meaningless than the ones in the NYT.

Specifically, the New York Times clearly compares number of divorces per married person (not total population, as you state). This is a meaningful comparison, as it gives us a somewhat accurate benchmark to compare the relative likelihood of divorce occurring for a single individual.

You rebut with the number of divorces as a function of the number of marriages. While this is of marginal interest, it is far more misleading than the NYT data.

Why? Here's two examples:




PERSON #1: Gets married, stays married 25 years, divorces, and doesn't remarry.

PERSON #2: Gets married, divorces after 2 years, remarries, divorces again after 3 years, divorces again, and remarries - this time staying married.

Person #1 had one marriage, and 1 divorce. Or a 100% divorce rate by your math.

Person #2 had 3 marriages and 2 divorces. Or a lower 66.7% divorce rate by your math.




But which of those scenarios is really the more desirable? Or "moral"?

The point being that a simple count of the number of marriages vs. the number of divorces tells us almost nothing.

I've lived for years in both Texas and New York (I live in NH now), and there is certainly a noticeable difference in marriage patterns.

Very few people I've met in the North East get divorced at all, and when they do, they tend to get divorced late and stay divorced. I've never been to a second wedding in the North East.

In Texas, many (most) of the people my age I knew were on their 2nd - or sometimes their 3rd - marriage. And yes, my multiple-divorce friends in Texas are far more likely to go to church than my single-marriage friends in NY and NH.

Another quick note: Comparing the “rate of marriage” to the “total state population” – is equally pointless, and cannot be used to “prove” people are more likely to get married in red states. Very few people stay single forever anywhere, red or blue. If you want to prove or disprove that point, you need to compare the “rate of FIRST marriages only”, not ALL marriages.

Frankly, I don't particularly care about divorce one way or another. But sloppy use of statistics and data irate me. Sorry, hope I didn't offend.


30 posted on 12/10/2004 7:42:48 AM PST by omnidroid
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To: omnidroid
Very few people I've met in the North East get divorced at all, and when they do, they tend to get divorced late and stay divorced. I've never been to a second wedding in the North East.

Welcome to FR -your thorough opinion and failed attempt to debunk the debunk is noted.

31 posted on 12/19/2004 4:02:07 AM PST by DBeers
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To: omnidroid
But sloppy use of statistics and data irate me. Sorry, hope I didn't offend.

27% of those we polled* are offended.

* Sample size: 3. Margin of error: + - 97%.

32 posted on 12/19/2004 4:14:49 AM PST by Lazamataz ("Stay well - Stay safe - Stay armed - Yorktown" -- harpseal)
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To: DBeers
Welcome to FR -your thorough opinion and failed attempt to debunk the debunk is noted.

I think his commentary holds weight.

33 posted on 12/19/2004 4:15:57 AM PST by Lazamataz ("Stay well - Stay safe - Stay armed - Yorktown" -- harpseal)
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To: Lazamataz
I think his commentary holds weight.

Although his opinions and experiences attempt to favor the false assertion debunked by the original poster -the 'commentary' at best only supports the original posters contention that: "There appears to be no meaningful correlation between politics and divorce."

34 posted on 12/19/2004 5:38:48 AM PST by DBeers
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To: Beelzebubba

Cool, I'm getting married in the Elvis Chapel at Las Vegas then.


35 posted on 12/19/2004 5:44:28 AM PST by Nataku X (There are no converts in Islam... only hostages.)
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