July 09, 2020   2:32pm

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How to stay married: Go Northeast.

The Bible Belt may hold more traditional views about marriage and divorce … but divorce rates are the highest in the nation.

As a product of America’s Bible Belt, it was no surprise when 20-somethings from my hometown started coupling off faster than they could post albums of their engagement rings online. Sure, there was always the thought, “why the rush?” but the article, “What’s fueling Bible Belt divorces,” by Katia Hetter on CNN made this question more relevant than ever.

According to the article, “Southern men and women had higher rates of divorce in 2009 than their counterparts in other parts of the country: 10.2 per 1,000 for men and 11.1 per 1,000 for women, according to a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau,” as opposed to the 7.2 for men and 7.5 for women in the northeast— lower than the national average of 9.2 for men and 9.7 for women.

While we can’t say we’re completely surprised by the reasons, it is interesting considering the moral high horse on which our Southern counterparts tend to sit.

The article points out the many reasons why divorce rates could be higher in the South, including:

  • People marrying at an earlier age: “‘There tends to be higher divorce rates in states where women marry young,’ said D’Vera Cohn, a senior writer with the Pew Research Center, who wrote a report on ‘The States of Marriage and Divorce.'”
  • Lack of education: “Education also may play a role. In general, less educated women marry at younger ages than college-educated women, and less educated couples have higher divorce rates,” said Cohn.
  • Values about premarital sex: Common in the Bible Belt and rural America, these values “may be encouraging people to marry early, at ages when they are likely to have less education and less income to support a long-lasting marriage, according to Naomi Cahn, law professor at The George Washington University Law School and co-author of ‘Red Families v. Blue Families: Legal Polarization and the Creation of Culture.’
  • More pressure to marry: “‘The very fact that people feel less pressure to get married (in the Northeast) means they can be more selective about who they marry and take their time, ‘ Coontz said. ‘They don’t have to rush into it to please parents or avoid the stigma of premarital sex.'”

This sure does give “living in sin” a whole new twist, doesn’t it?

To read more about what could be causing higher divorce rates in the South versus the Northeast, check out the entire article on CNN.com here.


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