Religion and Divorce

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Religion and Divorce | Ancorgae, AK | MV Alaska LawA recent study uncovered some interesting statistics about divorce: separation is higher among religiously conservative Protestants.  Even living around religiously conservative people drives up the rate for divorce.

According to an article from the LA Times, the study will be published in the American Journal of Sociology.  The study explores why divorce is more common in religiously conservative “red” states.

The question was that is religiously conservative people believe firmly in the value of marriage, why is the divorce rate high in states like Alabama and Arkansas?

Researchers from the University of Texas and the University of Iowa analyzed the divorce statistics in different counties and measured them against information from a previous study on religious congregations.

In the study, Protestant denominations were categorized as believing that the Bible is literally true and were labeled “conservative Protestants.”

The higher divorce rates among conservative Protestants were tied to couples that married and had children at a younger age.  Staring a family earlier tends to keep young adults from pursuing higher education, which commonly decreases their income and puts more strain on the marriage.

But even more interesting is that the researcher found divorce rates to be higher for people who lived in areas with a significant number of conservative Protestants, even if they were conservative Protestants themselves.

The study found that for every 1% increase in the amount of conservative Protestants, the overall divorce rate increased by 0.02%.  Researchers argued that this is because community institutions in these areas may push for marrying young, and that affects divorce rates for everyone who lives there.

Other factors that may contribute, according a researcher quoted in the article, are that pharmacies might not give out emergency contraception and abstinence only sex education is taught in school.

Living in a “marriage market” where most people marry young, religious or not, may put a lot of pressure on young men and women to pick their mate before all the good ones are snatched up.

Previously, it was theorized that poverty and general higher rates of marriage were to blame for the higher divorce rates in “red” states.  But, the study proved otherwise.

The study also linked higher divorce rates to people who do not adhere to any specific religious tradition.

It seems as though young people in these areas, whether they are of strong religious belief or of none, are influenced by the cultural climate.

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About Jenn Messick

I am an attorney practicing at M/V Alaska Law, an Anchorage, AK law firm helping clients all throughout Alaska navigate legal issues in divorce, family law, probate, and bankruptcy. I’m an outdoors person who enjoys hiking, skiing, hunting, spending time with family, and the beautiful scenery in Alaska. Jenn Messick’s Google+ Profile

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