Divorce and the Great Recession

May 02, 2012

At the Population Association of America’s annual conference in San Francisco this week, papers on the Great Recession’s impact on families, wealth, children, young adults, older Americans and other realms of life will be presented in at least 10 of the 200-plus sessions. Much of the research is preliminary, but it raises intriguing questions.

Demographic change is not usually a fast-moving phenomenon: Trends such as baby booms, declines in marriage rates or changes in immigration patterns usually unfold over decades. But events like the Great Recession have the power to accelerate the pace, which is why there is a small explosion of research these days into its impacts.

Take divorce, for example. There’s been a recent surge of interest in the topic of whether and how the poor economy has an impact on divorce rates. As with marriage rates and the economic downturn, the evidence is not clear-cut. One complication is that the quality of data about divorce is uneven.

Read the full report, Divorce and the Great Recession, on the Pew Social & Demographic Trends website.

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