For Richer, For Poorer

Philip Cohen explains the impact of the recession on US marriages:

In the case of divorce, the pattern is counter-intuitive. Although economic hardship and insecurity adds stress to relationships and increases the risk of divorce, the overall divorce rate usually drops when unemployment rates rise. Researchers believe that, like births, people postpone divorces during economic crises because of the costs of divorcing—not just legal fees, but also housing transitions (which were especially difficult in the Great Recession) and employment disruptions. My own research found that there was a sharp drop in the divorce rate in 2009 that can reasonably be attributed to the recession. But, as is suspected will be the case with births, there appears to have been a divorce-rate rebound in the years that followed.

Meanwhile, Andrew Gelman flags a “recent research report from M.V. Lee Badgett and Christy Mallory,” indicating that divorce is less of a threat to same-sex couples:

The first wave of same-sex marriage is not necessarily typical of what will happen in future years, and in other states. So it will be interesting to see this go forward. It would also be interesting to see the age distribution of the newlyweds. I’d expect that in the first years of same-sex marriage we’d see a lot of older couples and then the average age of marriage would settle down to a lower level, comparable to that of traditional wives and husbands.

Finally, Aran reports that “female couples make up 51% of all same-sex relationships, but 64% of legally formalized relationships” but the data in the linked report does not separate out the dissolution rate by sex (a data partition that can be done with same-sex marriage but not, of course, with traditional marriage data). Many more interesting things to look at.