, Volume 34, Issue 4, pp 455–466

The rise of divorce and separation in the United States, 1880–1990

A Century of Divorce and Separation-Symposium

DOI: 10.2307/3038300

Cite this article as:
Ruggles, S. Demography (1997) 34: 455. doi:10.2307/3038300


I use the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series to assess the potential effects of local labor-market conditions on long-term trends and race differences in marital instability. The rise of female labor-force participation and the increase in nonfarm employment are closely associated with the growth of divorce and separation. Moreover, higher female labor-force participation among black women and lower economic opportunities for black men may account for race differences in marital instability before 1940, and for most of such differences in subsequent years. However, unmeasured intervening cultural factors are probably responsible for at least part of these effects.

Copyright information

© Population Association of America 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of HistoryUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolis