Monday, May 2, 2011

Low divorce rates correlate with high education levels

It's probably no surprise that lower divorce rates correlate with higher education levels which correlate with higher income.  Many southern states, having lower education rates, have the highest divorce levels.  I find it slightly humorous to see the state that is home to Jersey Shore, the television  show where debauchery reigns, has the lowest divorce rate in the country.  This chart comes from Jacob Langenfeld at New Geography.

Wyoming is an interesting case.
An outlier for divorce seems to be Wyoming whose high divorce rate (a 2008-2009 average of 16%) places it outside of the bunch in many of the graphs. This may be because of the state’s “quickie” divorces. An article by Wyoming News discusses the reality of Wyoming’s label as “Splitsville” where many couples unhappy with their marriages travel to call it quits. The state lacks laws that force a couple to separate for some time prior to the official divorce, making the state more appealing for those who don’t wish to remain together. With all of the proper paper work in line, a couple could easily end it in Wyoming. Where Las Vegas is the home for a fast espousal, Cheyenne may be the new destination for a speedy separation. 


  1. But which comes first? Low education or high divorce? Actually, these markers are part of a cluster of markers that vary between South and North. Southern states have lower education levels, higher divorce rates, higher crime levels, higher infant mortality, higher obesity rates, and on and on. I suspect it all ties to the fact that poverty is higher in the South. Does the poverty cause the lower education levels or vice versa?

  2. That is the million-dollar question, isn't it?

    I think the recent push for "college for all" is typical of many solutions our government cooks up for these problems. College as a credential will not necessarily address the underlying problem of poorly educated young people, but will likely lower the standards of higher education. It can be argued that using standardized test scores works in the same way, with a resulting dumbing down so everyone can earn high scores. We've seen that happen already, but I think the testing problem could be more readily addressed.