Recession and Divorce in the United States, 2008–2011
- 2.1k Downloads
Recession may increase divorce through a stress mechanism, or reduce divorce by exacerbating cost barriers or strengthening family bonds. After establishing an individual-level model predicting US women’s divorce, the paper tests period effects, and whether unemployment and foreclosures are associated with the odds of divorce using the 2008–2011 American Community Survey. Results show a downward spike in the divorce rate after 2008, almost recovering to the expected level by 2011, which suggests a negative recession effect. On the other hand, state foreclosure rates are positively associated with the odds of divorce with individual controls, although this effect is not significant when state fixed effects are introduced. State unemployment rates show no effect on odds of divorce. Future research will have to determine why national divorce odds fell during the recession, while state-level economic indicators were not strongly associated with divorce. Exploratory analysis which shows unemployment decreasing divorce odds for those with college degrees, while foreclosures have the opposite effect, provide one possible avenue for such research.
KeywordsDivorce Recession Unemployment Foreclosures
An earlier version of this paper was presented at the 2012 meetings of the Population Association of America, and posted as a working paper online by the Maryland Population Research Center.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2013a). Local area unemployment statistics. http://www.bls.gov/lau/. Accessed August 23, 2013.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2013b). Labor force statistics from the current population survey (unemployment rate). http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS14000000. Accessed August 25, 2013.
- Cvrcek, T. (2011). U.S. marital disruptions and their economic and social correlates, 1860-1948. Journal of Family History, 36(2), 142–158.Google Scholar
- Douthat, R. (2009). Evaluations: Marriage and the recession. New York Times. Blog post, December 8. http://douthat.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/12/08/marriage-and-the-recession/. Accessed June 30, 2011.
- Elliott, D. B., Simmons, T., Lewis, J. M. (2010). Evaluation of the marital events items on the ACS. US Census Bureau working paper. http://www.census.gov/hhes/socdemo/marriage/data/acs/Evaluation_paper.pdf. Accessed June 29, 2011.
- Elmer, P. J., Seelig, S. A. (1998). The rising long-term trend of single-family mortgage foreclosure rates. Federal deposit insurance corporation working paper 98-2. http://ssrn.com/abstract=126128. Accessed June 20, 2011.
- Farber, H. S. 2011. Job Loss in the Great Recession: Historical Perspective from the Displaced Workers Survey, 1984–2010. National bureau of economic research working paper 17040. http://www.nber.org/papers/w17040. Accessed June 30, 2011.
- Federal Housing Finance Agency. (2011). House Price Index. http://www.fhfa.gov/Default.aspx?Page=296. Accessed June 30, 2011.
- Gascon, C. S. 2009. This Is Not Your Father’s Recession … or Is It?. The Regional Economist (April):6–12.Google Scholar
- Hellerstein, J. K., Morrill, M. S. (2011). Booms, Busts, and Divorce. BE Journal of Economic Analysis and Policy, 11(1), Article 54. Google Scholar
- Hurd, M. D., Rohwedder, S. (2010) Effects of the Financial Crisis and Great Recession on American Households. National bureau of economic research working paper 16407. http://www.nber.org/papers/w16407. Accessed June 30, 2011.
- Isen, A., Stevenson, B. (2010). Women’s education and family behavior: Trends in marriage, divorce and fertility. National bureau of economic research working paper series no. 15725.Google Scholar
- Kreider R. M. (2010). Increase in opposite-sex cohabiting couples from 2009 to 2010 in the Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC) to the Current Population Survey (CPS). Housing and household economic statistics division working paper. http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/Inc-Opp-sex-2009-to-2010.pdf. Accessed June 30, 2011.
- Kreider, R. M., Ellis, R. (2011). Number, timing, and duration of marriages and divorces: 2009. U.S. Census Bureau Current Population Reports (pp. 70–125).Google Scholar
- Mian, A., Sufi, A., Trebbi, F. (2011). Foreclosures, house prices, and the real economy. National bureau of economic research working paper 16685. http://www.nber.org/papers/w16685. Accessed June 30, 2011.
- Morgan, S. P., Cumberworth, E., & Wimer, C. (2011). The great recession’s influence on fertility, marriage, divorce, and cohabitation. In D. Grusky, B. Western, & C. Wimer (Eds.), The great recession (pp. 220–246). New York: Russell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
- National Bureau of Economic Research. (2010). Statement from the business cycle dating committee, September 20. http://www.nber.org/cycles/sept2010.html. Accessed August 25, 2013.
- Realtytrac. (2007). More than 1.2 million foreclosure filings reported in 2006. http://www.realtytrac.com/content/press-releases/more-than-12-million-foreclosure-filings-reported-in-2006-2234. Accessed August 23, 2013.
- Realtytrac. (2008). US foreclosure activity increases 75 percent in 2007. http://www.realtytrac.com/content/press-releases/us-foreclosure-activity-increases-75-percent-in-2007-3604. Accessed June 29, 2011.
- Realtytrac. (2009). 2008 year end foreclosure market report. http://www.realtytrac.com/content/news-and-opinion/2008-year-end-foreclosure-market-report-4621. Accessed June 29, 2011.
- Realtytrac. (2010). A record 2.8 million properties receive foreclosure notices in 2009. http://www.realtytrac.com/landing/2009-year-end-foreclosure-report.html. Accessed June 29, 2011.
- Ruggles, S. J., Alexander, T., Genadek, K., Goeken, R., Schroeder, M. B., & Sobek, M. (2010). Integrated Public Use Microdata Series: Version 5.0 Minneapolis, MN: Minnesota Population Center.Google Scholar
- Sutton P. D., Hamilton, B. E., Mathews, T. J. (2011). Recent decline in births in the United States, 2007–2009. National Center for Health Statistics data brief 60. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db60.pdf. Accessed June 30, 2011.
- Tejada-Vera B., Sutton, P. D. (2010). Births, marriages, divorces, and deaths: Provisional data for 2009. National Vital Statistics Reports, 58(25). Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr58/nvsr58_25.pdf.
- White, L., & Rogers, S. J. (2000). Economic Circumstances and Family Outcomes: A Review of the 1990s. Journal of Marriage and Family, 62(4), 1035–1051.Google Scholar
- Wilcox, W. B. (2009). The great recession’s silver lining?. In W. B Wilcox (Ed.), The state of our unions: Marriage in America, 2009. Charlottesville, VA: National Marriage Project.Google Scholar
- Wilcox, W. B. (2011). The great recession and marriage. National Marriage Project web release. http://www.virginia.edu/marriageproject/pdfs/NMP-GreatRecession.pdf. Accessed June 30, 2011.
- Williamson, R. (2009). Christmas cheer. http://rittertodundteufel.blogspot.com/2009/12/christmas-cheer.html. Accessed June 30, 2011.