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Why are divorce rates declining here in Colorado and across the U.S.?

When it comes to divorce, there is at least one statement with which most of us are now incredibly familiar: 50 percent of all marriages will end in a divorce.

While this was undoubtedly the case in the 80s, 90s and even into the early 2000s, the question remains as to whether this is necessarily true anymore. Indeed, statistics now show that the divorce is on the decline across the nation, including right here in Colorado.

To illustrate, data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reveals that 2013, the most recent year for which complete data is available, saw 21,483 divorces. This averages out to 4.08 divorces per 1,000 residents, the lowest overall divorce rate since 2004.    

Why then are dissolutions of marriage on the decline?

The predominant theory among experts is that much of this divorce decline can be attributed to the high number of married couples who both have college diplomas.

Specifically, these experts theorize that having a college degree creates greater financial stability, effectively eliminating the need for potentially damaging fights over money-related troubles, and leads couples to marry later in life when they are more emotionally mature.  

There is perhaps some truth to this notion, when you consider our state's declining divorce rate and its second-place ranking for college degrees per person.

As encouraging as all this may be, however, it's worth noting that many of these couples with college degrees are still in what could be deemed the early stages of their marriages, such that we really still have to wait to see if financial security and emotional maturity prove to be enough over the long run.

Indeed, it's not implausible that we could see divorce rates start to tick upwards again given the financial autonomy and enlightened attitudes present among these couples.

What are your thoughts on this issue?

Source: Colorado Public Radio, "The divorce rate in Colorado is at its lowest level in a decade," Ben Markus, March 5, 2015

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