In spite of an intense focus on marriage and traditional family values, divorce rates in the socially conservative South are higher than in the liberal-leaning Northeast, according to a report released this week by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Nationwide, 9.2 out of every 1,000 men and 9.7 out of every 1,000 women divorced in 2009, the latest year for which data was available. But in the South, the rates were higher: 10.2 out of 1,000 men and 11.1 out of 1,000 women. In the Northeast, the rate of divorce was much lower than the national average—7.2 per 1,000 for men and 7.5 per 1,000 for women.
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W. Bradford Wilcox, associate professor of sociology at the University of Virginia and the director of the National Marriage Project, says that age, education, income, and ideals all play a part in the higher divorce rates in conservative states. Yahoo! Shine: 78% Of Women Would Give A Lap Dance
Though the overall age for first marriages in the United States has been steadily rising since the 1970s, the push to preserve "sexual purity" and avoid pre-marital sex have encouraged some couples, especially those in the South and parts of rural America, to the the knot in their late teens and early 20s, marriage experts say. Combine that with lower income and education levels for people in those areas, and the risk for divorce climbs.
The highest divorce rates for both men and women were in Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas.
In much the Northeast, however, people (especially women) are more likely to delay marriage in favor of earning a college degree or launching a career, which may explain why the divorce rate was lowest in New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Connecticut. (The divorce rate in Maine was very high for men, but lower than the national average for women.)
The way people in the two regions think about marriage itself may also have a lot to do with the difference in divorce rates, Wilcox says.
Read the rest of the article at Yahoo! Shine: Why Is The Divorce Rate So Much Higher In The South?
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