By the Numbers: Divorce, American-Style; March 1999; Scientific American Magazine; by Doyle; 1 Page(s)
The late social scientist Jessie Bernard of Pennsylvania State University once observed that "there are two marriages...in every marital union, his and hers. And his...is better than hers." The growing awareness of this particular perspective among women most likely contributed to the dramatic rise in divorce rates in the 1960s and 1970s, along with urbanization, the growing role of women in the workforce and more liberal divorce laws. But why is the U.S. the world leader in divorce?
A possible explanation lies in the restlessness of Americans, who are far more apt to migrate than, say, Europeans. Those who move, particularly a long distance, may be more likely to divorce because the inhibitions of traditional family and community ties have been left behind. Divorce has colonial roots, too: Puritan courts granted divorces, and disgruntled husbands and wives often simply abandoned their spouses.