Here’s some heartening news about marriage: The U.S. divorce rate fell for the third consecutive year in 2015, dropping to the lowest it’s been in 40 years, according to a report based on Census data released Thursday.
The divorce rate ― represented as the number of divorces per 1,000 married women aged 15 and older ― was 16.9 divorces per 1,000 married women in 2015, a slight dip from the divorce rate of 17.6 in 2014. The rate is down 25 percent from 1980, according to the report, which was released by Bowling Green State University’s National Center for Marriage and Family Research.
“We may have reached the low point in the decline in marriage,” Susan L. Brown, a co-director at the center, told The Huffington Post. “Over the past few years, there has not been a further retreat from marriage among the US population.”
What’s more, marriage rates remain stable, with 32.3 marriages for every 1,000 unmarried women, up from 31.9 in 2014.
Though divorce rates have fallen among young people (35 and under), they’ve increased for middle-aged and older people, Brown said.
“Many of these Baby Boomers experienced the divorce revolution of the 1970s as young adults and then got remarried,” she told HuffPost. “The gray divorce rate for those in a remarriage is 2.5 times higher than for those in a first marriage.”
Meanwhile, younger generations are marrying later in life and being more selective in the process of finding a partner, she said.
“Young adults who get married tend to do so at later ages and they enjoy greater economic resources and they’re more likely to be college educated than their counterparts a generation ago,” she said. “Both of these factors are protective against divorce.”
Of course, the divorce rate varies by state: Washington, D.C. has the highest divorce rate, with nearly 30 marriages per 1,000 ending in divorce, followed by Wyoming (27.9), Nevada (25.7) and Arkansas (25.3)
Hawaii has the lowest divorce rate, with only 11 marriages per 1,000 ending in divorce, followed by Wisconsin, Rhode Island, Delaware, which were all under 13.