Every so often, the US government surveys thousands of teenagers and young adults, gathering their opinions on changes to American family life. They ask respondents for their thoughts on a number of matters including single parenting, cohabitation, gay marriage, and divorce. This year’s data, released recently by the National Center for Health Statistics, may surprise people. While younger Americans are becoming increasingly more accepting of gay relationships, single parenting, and cohabitation before marriage, they are less accepting of divorce when compared to past generations. Divorce has become more common with each new generation of Americans, and now around half of all marriages in the United States end in divorce. Why this sudden shift in opinion?
The survey includes data from over 10,000 respondents ages 15 to 44. According to the results, three quarters of men and women believe it is okay for a couple to cohabitate before marriage. Seventy-eight percent of women and 69 percent of men approve of a single mother raising a child. Nearly 50 percent of men, and 60 percent of women, say same-sex relationships are okay, and a large majority of those surveyed say gays and lesbians should have the right to adopt. A majority of young Americans are also accepting of premarital sex.
While opinions are more accepting towards a majority of the topics included in the survey, one area, divorce, had very different results. Respondents were asked to agree or disagree with this statement: “Divorce is usually the best solution when a couple can not seem to work out their marriage problems.” In the same survey conducted 10 years ago, 47 percent of women and 44 percent of men approved of divorce as the best solution to an unhappy marriage. This year’s data shows that now only 38 percent of women and 39 percent of men think divorce is the best option.
Divorce is a growing trend, so why are young Americans becoming disapproving of it? According to a marriage and family researcher from Bowling Green State University, there are several potential explanations. The change in opinions, researchers say, is a product of the evolving American family dynamic. Marriage is no longer a prerequisite for a family. Couples are getting married later in life, and non-traditional families, such as single parent families or unwed couples with children, are becoming more common. Young Americans likely now believe that marriage is not expected, so a couple that does marry should be sure they are committed for life. “The growing belief seems to be that there are several acceptable ways to have and raise children, but you should really only get married if you think you are in a relationship that is permanent,” says one family studies researcher.
Need Divorce Help?
While opinions on divorce may be changing, it is still a viable solution for couples stuck in an unhappy marriage. If you believe you are headed towards divorce, you need a qualified DuPage County divorce attorney by your side. The team at Abear Law Offices is here to help. We have years of experience successfully handling our clients divorce cases, and have a number of different solutions to fit your needs. Divorce can be a difficult process. Call 630-904-3033 to learn more about your options today.