Skip to comments.Divorce Rate Higher in Counties With More Conservative Protestants, Study Says
Posted on 01/30/2014 5:17:18 AM PST by xzins
Divorce rate is higher among religiously conservative Protestants, and even among those living around them, finds a new study that examined all counties in the United States where divorces occurred and looked at what the characteristics of those counties were.
Demographers Jennifer Glass at the University of Texas and Philip Levchak at the University of Iowa looked at the entire map of the United States, and found that a key factor predicting divorce rates is the concentration of conservative Protestants in a county.
To be published in the American Journal of Sociology next month, the study notes that religiously conservative states Alabama and Arkansas have the second and third highest divorce rates in the U.S., at 13 per 1000 people per year while New Jersey and Massachusetts, more liberal states, are two of the lowest at 6 and 7 per 1000 people annually.
The researchers attribute it to the earlier ages at first marriage and first birth, and the lower educational attainment and lower incomes among conservative Protestant youth.
"Restricting sexual activity to marriage and encouraging large families seem to make young people start families earlier in life, even though that may not be best for the long-term survival of those marriages," the non-profit Council on Contemporary Families, where Glass is a senior scholar, quotes the researcher as saying.
In their study titled, "Red States, Blue States, and Divorce: Understanding Regional Variation in Divorce Rates," Glass and Levchak also say that people who simply live in counties with high proportions of religious conservatives are also more likely to divorce than their counterparts elsewhere.
The researchers say this is due to a cultural climate where most people expect to marry young and there is little support from schools or community institutions for young people to get more education and postpone marriage and children.
"Pharmacies might not give out emergency contraception. Schools might only teach abstinence education," Los Angeles Times quotes Glass as saying. "If you live in a marriage market where everybody marries young, you postpone marriage at your own risk. The best catches are going to go first."
W. Bradford Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia is surprised. "In some contexts in America today, religion is a buffer against divorce. But in the conservative Protestant context, this paper is showing us that it's not," he tells the Times, adding that the study also showed that more "secularism" was also linked to higher rates of divorce.
Alabama and Arkansas have the second and third highest divorce rates in the U.S., at 13 per 1000 people per year while New Jersey and Massachusetts, more liberal states, are two of the lowest at 6 and 7 per 1000 people annually.
Our tax dollars at work.
Could it possibly be because Conservative Protestants are the biggest group still getting married, while the ungodly are shacking up? I’m sure the Leftist researcher at ut in Austin never gave that a thought.
Divorce Rate Higher in Counties With More Conservative Protestants,
Maybe in other places, they just shack up. No marriage to get divorced from.
Another possible factor is that many people find the church after the divorce. I doubt that the researcher accounted for that either.
The touted methodology indicates that the base numbers were not corrected for any lack of marriage acts in less conservative areas. If baby-momma and baby-daddy hookup with no marriage license, they are excluded from the survey.
I also would like to see there criteria for data selection - as there are a number of ways the methods they selected their data from could be skewing the numbers.
If I'm reading this correctly, that is divorces per capita.
So, I'm calling BS on the whole study. If people don't get married, they can't get divorced. People in Alabama and Arkansas are simple more likely to get married, period. With a higher number of marriages you will naturally have a higher number of divorces. If you really want to look at the true state of marriage/divorce, the methodology needs to be divorces per marriage.
Since they’re comparing those already married to those already married, those who aren’t married aren’t an issue
Could it be that this is true because Conservative protestants are the ones who are still bothering to get married? Unlike the rest of young couples who are shacking up, no strings attached.
“Could it possibly be because Conservative Protestants are the biggest group still getting married, while the ungodly are shacking up?”
Definitely my first thought.
It would be an interesting study to look at the relationships of those who aren’t married but are living together.
However, if you take ONLY those who are married and compare them with each other, and one group is divorcing more than the other group, it’s not because of what non-marrieds are doing.
If I compare dogs in one area with dogs in another area, it doesn’t really matter what cats are doing.
That was my first thought also.
It is because the men expect to get away with demanding to be the boss and the women are supposed to submit. The men conveniently forget that they are directed to lay their lives down for their wives.
It’s hard to get divorced when one doesn’t bother to get married.
Makes sense. In liberal locales, people don’t bother getting married to begin with, so there’s less incidence of divorce. Plus, in liberal asylums ... er, I mean ... areas ... a lot of people are “marrying” their cats, their goldfish, their bongs ... And those unions can be broken without the benefit of a formal divorce.
I don’t think that’s it. They are comparing apples to apples. No matter what the shacking up are doing, the married in one group are divorcing more than the married in another group.
Your question would be an important different study, but when comparing those who are married with those who are married, it’s significant that one group is divorcing more than another group.
One thing your question does suggest is that the more committed are the ones getting married in the non-conservative Protestant groups. The uncommitted shack up instead.
In the conservative protestant groups they don’t shack up as much, so the uncommitted are getting married and those marriages are failing.
Statistics are interesting but conclusions are not science, but fueled by liberal leanings and hostility towards conservatives and Christians.
I don’t like divorce. To get divorced you have to married first.
As a pastor, if something is breaking conservative protestant marriages up, then I’d like to know what it is.
In my opinion, we don’t say “no” enough to marrying people. I don’t know some key indicator that says they’re truly committed to making their marriage work. All will say they love Jesus, love their intended, etc.
The three factors are not mutually exclusive. They are concurrent requirements.
(Married once, 43 years ago, never divorced, never will be. Four adult children, all married once each for a total of 44 years of marriage between them. No divorces.)
No doubt. Especially since these researchers were at state universities, it was almost certainly tax money that paid for their research beyond their salaries.
The world would not be that much different if this study had not taken place. As a pastor, I already know that we have problems with divorce.
Divorce rate per 1000 PEOPLE is an irrelevant figure. Divorce rate per 1000 MARRIED COUPLES would be relevant.
If I compare dogs in one area with dogs in another area, it doesnt really matter what cats are doing.
But the point of the study is: Conservative protestants are more likely to get divorced. But that is because they are also more likely to get married. So whether they include shack ups or not in the study is really an issue (although it would be intersting since the left is always trying to redefine marriage). But the study is clearly flawed, and it's conclusion is foregone due to the methodology.
Yes, you’re right. Just looked at the wording. It would be nice to see the actual study. I was assuming comparison of marrieds. It’s not irrelevant. It just isn’t as relevant.
If you’re county has a higher divorce rate than mine, that’s as significant as your county have a higher dui rate than mine.
See #18 and #23....bolobaby makes a very good point.
“They are comparing apples to apples.”
How do you know they aren’t comparing a single tree to an orchard? If there are 10 rotten apples on a single tree and 70 rotten apples in a whole orchard, which one has the real problem with rotten apples?
I do wonder if divorce law is harsher in areas where conservative Protestants are more populous or in areas where they aren’t, or if that is even a deterrent for anyone anywhere.
Men are called to be the moral foundation of the family, something considered abhorrent in today’s secular world - it is quite apropos for lawyers to delude their selves it mostly men’s fault. Put no-fault divorce as a legal standard and provide many socio-economic incentives for women to divorce their husbands and the institution of marriage has then been effectively weakened and becomes something to be used and abused. And who abuses it more, than lawyers?
Differences in divorce laws would be something to look at. Good point.
I believe the results would be the same if compared between Conservative Protestants and Conservative Catholics.
Not a surprise, liberals don’t get married they just live together
It’s still not a straight comparison, because the libs that get married would be a self-selecting group, much more so than conservatives that get married.
Kind of like comparing the performance of homeschoolers to public schoolers.
:: if something is breaking conservative protestant marriages up, then Id like to know what it is ::
Pastor, re-read the conclusionary statements of this “study”. The reason is “the lack of free birth control” in America.
One answer is something I have observed for decades in relation to the regions compared. As a lifelong resident of the Northeast, I have observed that despite the politics, people of this region live a very conservative private life even when they are liberal. Especially in the Boston, New York and Philadelphis suburbs. I am not speaking about the inner city. A lot of Northeast liberals will speak in public one way, but when it comes to their own family the social pathologies that they are tolerant of in speech are not tolerated for their own children. Parents are obsessed with raising super achievers in these parts, every bit as much as Asian parents are stereotyped. My sister in law was a army brat, and lived in Kansas and El Paso before finally settling in South Jersey. She was surprised that at her public HS in NJ there was less teenage shacking up and misbehavior than the other two locales. It was counter intuitive to what she expected.
Another reason for these statistics is staring everyone in the face, money. Money problems is one or two in the cause of divorce. The two states with the high rate are poorer than the two with the low rate.
Actually, I disagree with you. If two groups are identified, and one of them has a significantly lower percentage of participation in marriage (due to out-of-marriage cohabitation or “shacking up”), then the probability of higher divorce numbers in the married population naturally shifts toward the group with the higher marriage participation rate. Because the activity being studied is avoided by a significant population in the one group, there is a natural tendency for marriages in that group to be between individuals who are more committed to each other.
After all, they have taken an extra step in commitment - one which is not seen as a prerequisite for a “relationship” in their societal norms.
In the first group, there are no valid numbers for the level of relationships that form and dissolve (it’s not tracked, and shouldn’t be). In the second group, with higher marriage rates, there are valid numbers because marriage is registered with the state, as are divorces.
Early marriage could be a factor in pushing the second group’s divorce numbers higher, as well. While group 1 is shacking up, group 2 is tying the knot. To have a valid comparison, one has to study age bands with respect to the longevity of their relationships - not just marriage. Of course, some correction for uncommitted relationships via cohabitation or shacking up would have to be made.
The selection of data can bias the results of the study. In this case, by excluding without well-explained, sound scientific reasoning a large group of potential subjects, the study uses a selection bias to push its conclusions toward the idea that conservatives divorce more often.
The correct question is whether conservatives or liberals dissolve committed relationships more often. Unfortunately, I suspect there is not valid data about the rate of committed relationships amongst unmarried individuals (absent a scientifically valid survey).
Consider it this way: If I did a study of attitudes toward the Pope, would asking questions to Roman Catholics only change the results over asking questions from all congregants of all denominations? Would making the second group be all people, regardless of church affiliation or lack thereof make a difference?
In the cat/dogs counterexample you cite, the basis of this study is more like studying dogs who have owners (in conservative areas) versus all dogs (including strays) in liberal areas. The basis of the study biases the results.
No. You're assuming "married" includes the same characteristics in both situations and means the same thing across different cultures. The confound suggested by numerous posters is that in southern, high-conservative-protestant states the demographics of the "married" include a wide range of participants such as high schoolers forced into metaphorical shotgun weddings as well as more mature couples who are financially secure. In the leftist pisspots of the northeast, no one gets married unless they are deeply committed to the institution or need it for political convenience (pRezzie Zero and the Wookie, billary). In order for it to be an apples to apples comparison based upon political and religious outlook, the study would need to control for the different demographics between these groups.
It’s still too high, but Catholics divorce
rates 10% lower than protestants. And if that figure includes all the “liberal” Catholics, it’s a pretty significant number.
And BTW my last post had a rather significant typo.
So whether they include shack ups or not in the study is really an issue...Is should have been isn't. Kinda changes my meaning. I hate it when my brain gets that far ahead of my fingers.
Yep, Ted Kennedy never got a divorce...
But their results are given per capita - on the basis of population, not on the basis of married population.
It would be interesting to see the statistics of how many people are in a "committed-relationship" per state, and what percentage of those people are married, shacked up, etc. I imagine that would not be too hard to figure out, and the fact that this study does not address this obvious point at all points to an agenda.
Their birth control argument is stupid. I didn’t consider that even for a second. I do think there’s some merit to the idea that some feel pressured to get married and some don’t. If pressured to get married, then a lot of uncommitted people would get married who shouldn’t.
Overall, though, I think we’ve seriously cheapened the notion of martial commitment around the country. I do think that many Christians don’t have high standards for marriage anymore.
:: Their birth control argument is stupid ::
I agree but...that was the reason behind “commissioning” of this study.
A pre-determined outcome.
Well, we’ve seen “studies” that show we conservatives are fat, stupid, violent, more likely to beat our wives and now we are more likely to get divorced. I guess these “studies” prove we are just inferior to liberal counties and we should all just listen to them.
you are the lucky one
Yep, I think that’s the gist of it.
They’d actually like to be able to punish us for not recognizing their superiority, but shutting up and not opposing them would be a start.
it’ ssatan breaking them up
now I know Protestants don’e believe in the devil or evil any more
but they should
they also should call to the carpet members of their congregation who are adulterers
they also should refuse to do second marriages
Loyalty to the Pope is unAmerican.
I spend a lot of time trying to tell these morons that want a dee vorce that they are supposed to self sacrifice for their family and put their kids first.
but most are putting their genitals first