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Harvard  Study Finds Leading Factor in Divorce

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A study conducted by Alexandra Killewald, a Harvard researcher, was published in the American Sociological Review that finds the leading factor in divorce is the man’s job status. Killewald found that the common factor among divorces, no matter how long the couple dated prior to marriage, was job status.

The data found that men who didn’t have jobs or remained unemployed for long periods of time had a much higher risk of divorce compared to men who maintained steady employment.

Men in the study had a 30{ee2a2ced2e83a70af3b12a5f5f4bc88f1c095ae1846c54ee750c7ec9c020c045} higher chance of divorce if they were unemployed, finds Killewald. The data used in the study spans over 46 years, starting with divorces in the 1970s. Men who remain not employed full-time had a 3.3{ee2a2ced2e83a70af3b12a5f5f4bc88f1c095ae1846c54ee750c7ec9c020c045} risk of divorce in any given year. Men who maintained full-time employment had just a 2.5{ee2a2ced2e83a70af3b12a5f5f4bc88f1c095ae1846c54ee750c7ec9c020c045} risk of divorce.

The study found that the woman’s employment status didn’t figure statistically in a divorce. Husbands remain the breadwinner in most families and maintain a higher risk of divorce as a result. The study found that homemaking responsibilities have eroded, but women were not at a higher risk of divorce as a result.

Significant impact was not noted for a woman’s full-time employment or the division of household duties.

The study suggests that involuntary unemployment is the biggest factor impacting marriages. Voluntary unemployment had less of an impact on divorce risks, according to the data,

A 2014 report shows that Maryland is tied for tenth-lowest in divorces among all other states, with a 10.1{ee2a2ced2e83a70af3b12a5f5f4bc88f1c095ae1846c54ee750c7ec9c020c045} divorce rate in the state. The report finds that 2.6{ee2a2ced2e83a70af3b12a5f5f4bc88f1c095ae1846c54ee750c7ec9c020c045} of residents are separated and 46.7{ee2a2ced2e83a70af3b12a5f5f4bc88f1c095ae1846c54ee750c7ec9c020c045} are married.

The average marriage in Maryland lasts 10 years, with 15,416 people divorcing in 2013. Marriages are at the highest risk of divorce during years 10 – 14 where over 18{ee2a2ced2e83a70af3b12a5f5f4bc88f1c095ae1846c54ee750c7ec9c020c045} of divorces end their marriage.

Data from the study is flawed to an extent, according to Killewald. The data for same-sex couples is non-existent for many years and too small of a sampling to prove relevant. The data also doesn’t take into account men that opt to be stay-at-home dads.

Studies from 2011 suggest that marriages where spouses fight over money each week have a 30{ee2a2ced2e83a70af3b12a5f5f4bc88f1c095ae1846c54ee750c7ec9c020c045} higher risk of ending in divorce. Finances seem to be the major deciding factor that pushes bickering to divorce. The study didn’t take into account high-asset divorces where a couple’s divorcing is likely not linked to finances but rather cultural, religious or incompatibility issues.

Unmarried couples are also at a higher risk of splitting when finances are an issue. CNBC reports that finances stress relationships. The study found that 35{ee2a2ced2e83a70af3b12a5f5f4bc88f1c095ae1846c54ee750c7ec9c020c045} of respondents said money was the primary cause of friction in their relationships.

The study found that finances play an even larger role in the stress of a relationship between the ages of 44 and 54, where 44{ee2a2ced2e83a70af3b12a5f5f4bc88f1c095ae1846c54ee750c7ec9c020c045} of respondents state that their relationship stress is directly related to money. The American Psychological Association finds that 75{ee2a2ced2e83a70af3b12a5f5f4bc88f1c095ae1846c54ee750c7ec9c020c045} of Americans feel stress at least some of the time, with 25{ee2a2ced2e83a70af3b12a5f5f4bc88f1c095ae1846c54ee750c7ec9c020c045} of people under extreme financial stress.