Money troubles result in more marital discord than just about anything else in Pennsylvania and around the country. However, the national divorce rate has been falling during the recent recession.
Slate cited U.S. federal government data that says divorces fell from 3.6 divorces per 1,000 Americans in 2007 to 3.5 divorces per 1,000 Americans in 2008 and down to 3.4 divorces per 1,000 Americans in 2009. A bad economy seems to keep couples together, because divorce is expensive.
A fellow at the Roosevelt Institute, Mike Konczal, looked at each state and found a correlation between higher unemployment rates and drops in divorce. In Pennsylvania, the unemployment rate was close to nine percent as recently as February 2010. Since then the rate has been on the decline. A lower unemployment rate may mean an increasing demand for Pennsylvania divorces as people find they have the means to separate.
Economies of scale from living together
For economists, the reality of lower divorce rates during a recession is not shocking. Sharing a household with another adult is more economically efficient than living on one's own. This also explains the recent trend of unemployed young adults moving back into the homes of their parents.
Splitting utilities and rent or mortgage payments and purchasing groceries in bulk reduce individual expenses. But for many young adults, moving back into their parent's home is not their ideal living arrangement. The same is true for those in unhappy marriages. Living under the same roof because of finances is stressful.
As the economy continues to improve more unhappy couples will be able to separate. This will in itself continue to boost the economy, because the number of households will expand and demand for housing will continue to grow.
For those who are contemplating leaving a marriage a consultation with an experienced Pittsburgh divorce attorney can provide a roadmap to the dissolution process.
Source: Slate, "Help America: Get Divorced!" Matthew Yglesias, Jan. 31, 2012