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The Effect of Religion on Divorce

A forthcoming study reveals that divorce rates are highest in counties or states with prominent conservative religious groups. Researchers from the University of Iowa, Jennifer Glass and Philip Levchak, concluded that this was true even for non-religious people who live in those areas. In other words, couples that live in a predominantly conservative religious environment are more susceptible to divorce.


W. Bradford Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project said the study was “surprising.” He added, “In some contexts in America today, religion is a buffer against divorce. But in the conservative Protestant context, this paper is showing us that it’s not.”

Some studies have suggested that poverty is a causal factor in divorce. However, when the income of marriages ending in divorce was taken out of the equation in this particular study the result was the same.

The study revealed other factors that influence divorce. The researchers discovered a direct correlation between divorce and those who get married at a younger age. In fact, another study conducted by Evelyn Lehrer from the University of Illinois revealed that the likelihood of divorce is decreased for women every year they postpone marriage. Additionally, marriages that begin with unplanned pregnancies run a higher risk of ending in divorce.

Questions for discussion:
Why do you think predominantly religious areas run a higher risk of divorce?
What can religious groups do to change the negative impact they have on marriages?

For more information go to the Council on Contemporary Families.

Related Posts
Divorce in America [Infographic]
Ministering to Divorced People

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