Divorce rates in cities used to be much higher than those in rural areas, but the gap is now closing. A recent article in The New York Times discusses how the divorce rate is rising in rural areas and begins to look into some of the possible reasons why.

According to the NYT, people living in cities and suburbs were more likely to be divorced forty years ago, but the newest census data shows that people in rural areas are as likely to be divorced as people in cities.

Some of the changes stem from women's increasing autonomy through joining the workforce and pursuing higher education and advanced degrees in greater numbers. It's pointed out that a higher rate of divorce likely means less people staying in unhappy marriages. The stigma of divorce has also decreased in rural areas, even in places where everyone knows everyone else's business.

According to the NYT, in 2009, there were 121 million married adults in the U.S. and 26 million divorced adults. In 1980, there were 100 million married adults and 11 million divorced people. The changing family dynamics in rural America account for some of that increase.

The reason for why the divorce rate is changing is not necessarily clear-cut, but the result of many factors.


Once Rare in Rural America, Divorce Is Changing the Face of Its Families (The New York Times)