How is the U.S. Divorce Rate Affecting Children?
What is the current rate and trend of divorce in the U.S? I began to do some deeper research (beyond the usual 50-55% rate that we repeatedly hear), and discovered complicated findings. The Washington Post in March 2014 suggested that the increasing rate of divorce has not occurred evenly across age groups. The article and research suggests that we need to distinguish more carefully between age groups to obtain more accurate data. More recently in December 2014, the NYTimes suggests a drop in the rate of divorce for varying reasons in the last 20 years, based on research from an economist at University of Michigan. I think we learn from both articles how we need to be thoughtful about our understanding and measurements of divorce.
Based on these statistics, we realize that many children in the U.S. experience divorce at least once, if not twice, in their lifetime. There is a wealth of information on the internet and several books available on the impact of divorce on children. However, in looking for scholarly, research based articles, it is harder to find more current, research based evidence on the short and long-term negative and positive consequences of divorce. Each family’s situation is unique, and each child’s development and resiliency is unique. It would be a challenging but valuable study to identify the interactive risk and protective factors related to short and long-term outcomes in children of divorced families. One interesting article published by Scientific American in 2013 suggests 1.5 million children experience divorce each year. The authors then review the literature and some important books published in the early 2000’s that capture the risks and outcomes of divorce. The authors then conclude that many children cope and adjust well in the long run.