The Corner

The one and only.

Divorce in the Bible Belt?


A report is out (here and here)  explaining how divorce is up in the Bible Belt, with the not-new implication of “well if the Christians can’t make marriage work”…

Well, there are number of things to be mindful of in such stories, not least if which is that the overall divorce rate in American has been declining slowly since 1985 (for link/citation on this, can you link directly to p. 69).

First, the South has had higher divorce rates for some time, not because it’s the Bible Belt, but because it has more marriage. And yes, more marriages means, unfortunately, more opportunity for divorce.

Second, there is more young marriage (18-20 years of age) and more couples living in poverty in the South, two factors associated with increase risk of divorce. So, it would be more appropriate to describe the South in this regard as the “Mobile-Home Belt” as opposed to the Bible Belt, for that better captures the dynamic of why divorce is greater in the South.

In fact, it has been shown that couples who take their faith seriously have a 35 percent lower risk of divorce than those who do not practice a religious faith.