Despite initial fears Irish divorce rates remain low even after 20 years…

Nice piece in the Irish Times…

Professor of Social Science at UCD, Tony Fahey, says the rate of divorce in Ireland now would have been considered low in other countries in the 1950s.

When divorce was first liberalised in western countries, the rates increased rapidly, from one per 1,000 inhabitants, to three and then to five. In the US, the rate hit a high of 5.5 for a time.

The growth lasted up to 30 years before levelling off. In Ireland, the rate peaked at 0.9, and is now 0.6.

It may be that simply fewer people are bothering with divorce. When the process was first liberalised in other countries, one of the spurs was that people wanted to enter a second union and have children, and that prompted them to want to get married.

But the significance of marriage has changed since then. Countries, including Ireland, have become a lot more relaxed about premarital co-habitation, sex outside marriage and non-marital child bearing. The impetus to remarry has reduced.

Perhaps it no longer has the emotional charge it had back then, or perhaps in some way Ireland’s social conservatism is deeper and more innate than many would like to believe?

  • Granni Trixie

    Change in attitudes to marriage impacting on people opting to cohabit is one of the reasons I was surprised when proponents of the former did not wholeheartedly embrace the campaign for SSM – including the Churches.

  • Lorcs1

    The low number of marriages probably also has an effect on these numbers.
    In 2014 there were 4.8 marriages per 1000, compared to 7.4 marriages in the 1974.

    Also the age and emotional maturity of those getting married has changed. In 1977 the average groom was 26.2 years old, rising to 35 in 2014. The average bride was 24 in 1977 up to 33 in 2014.

    That extra decade (or thereabouts) of life experience and emotional maturity before people tie the knot, provides the couple with a greater idea of the reality of married life.

  • Ernekid

    Greater numbers of couples are cohabitating for years without tying the knot. Not many people in their 20s can afford to get married these days anyway From personal experience, the only people I know who are married in their early 20s are super religious couples.
    More kids are born out of wedlock too, a lot of people see a marriage certificate than little more than a piece of paper that has no bearing on the strength of their relationship

  • hugh mccloy

    Contact cases over children keep growing

  • Old Mortality

    ‘Not many people in their 20s can afford to get married these days anyway’
    What? All you need is the fee for the registry office.

  • Roger

    It also means they are married for a shorter duration and so don’t have as long to want to get a divorce; it also means they aren’t married when they are in their ‘prime’ which has hormonal consequences, which probably mean they have a slightly better chance.

  • Roger

    were you honestly surprised the churches did not wholeheartedly embrace ‘SSM’?

  • Granni Trixie

    You’re right – ‘surprise’ is not exactly what I meant to say. Rather, I was thnking that it would be logical for them to do so to preserve the institution given the world is becoming increasingly secular. Could be that inheritance tax benefits etc are what’s keeping it going!

  • Sarah Williams

    When marrying, ask yourself this question: Do you believe that you will be able to converse well with this person into your old age? Everything else in marriage is transitory.

  • Roger

    I’d say that’s part of it; that and one having to give half of everything to your wife* when it all goes pear shaped.