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New Study Reveals Unemployment a Major Factor in Divorce

A new study, conducted by a Harvard Professor Alexandra Killewald and published in the American Sociological Review, focuses on what may be one of the most substantial factors in failing marriages: the husband’s employment status.

The study analyzed 46 years of data on approximately 6,300 couples throughout the United States. Killewald found the divorce rate began rising quickly in the mid-1970s, a time at which women were starting to enter the working world in greater numbers.

Killewald used that information to hypothesize that job status could have something to do with employment. What she found was that a woman having a job did not necessarily preclude her from filing for divorce. In actuality, economic independence for women had no correlation with higher divorce.

Unemployment for men a significant factor

What did have a greater impact, especially in more recent years, was the employment status of the husband. Over the past several decades, husbands who are not full-time employees have a 3.3 percent chance of getting divorced in any given year, versus only 2.5 percent for those who work full time.

There could be any number of reasons for this. For one, men continue to be more likely to be the primary breadwinner in households. If money gets tight, it becomes harder to pay bills, which in turn leads to a greater potential for marital strife.

Of course, there are many other factors that have a clear correlation with rates of divorce, including educational level of each spouse, the disparity of educational level, income disparity and certain environmental factors.

If you would like to learn more about your options for seeking a divorce, consult a knowledgeable Minnesota family law attorney with Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart.

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