US Divorce Rates Are at a 40-Year Low — We'll Cheers to That!

The US divorce rate has been on a steady decline over the last three years, but now, it's at the lowest level we've seen in 40 years. This comes from the National Center for Family and Marriage Research, which annually releases these findings after analyzing census data to delve into marriage and divorce trends of the prior year. How exactly does the center make these calculations? Let's break it down.

The NCFMR at Bowling Green State University figures out this rate by calculating the number of divorces per 1,000 married women age 15 and older. So in 2014, the divorce rate was 17.6, and this number declined to 16.9 in 2015 — the lowest it's been in 40 years. The data also noted a slight uptick in marriages, with 32.3 for every 1,000 unmarried women age 15 or older in 2015 compared to the previous year's marriage rate of 31.9. With the marriage rate having steadily declined since the impressive rate of 76.5 in the '70s, this number has been on the rise again since 2009. This means there's a chance that marriage could be stabilizing, according to Wendy Manning, codirector of the NCFMR.

Though the root cause of this decline is difficult to pinpoint, it could have something to do with changing gender roles, this generation getting married at an older age, and a smaller pool of marriages to begin with. This decline in divorce rates doesn't necessarily correlate to the likelihood of a marriage lasting, but it does have us hopeless romantics feeling optimistic.