Divorce Goes Downscale

Though Americans marry at a later age than they did in earlier generations, the vast majority tie the knot eventually. A study by The Barna Group found that 78 percent of adults have married. Of course, lots of those marriages didn’t take: 33 percent of those who’ve ever married have also divorced.

Like smoking, though, divorce has become a disproportionately downmarket phenomenon. Among those people categorized by Barna as “downscale” (meaning no college and household income under $20,000), 39 percent of those who’ve ever married have also gotten divorced. Among “upscale” marrieds (college graduates and household income of $75,000-plus), just 22 percent have done so.

Atheists and agnostics have a significantly below-average propensity to marry, with 65 percent having done so. By comparison, 84 percent of those identified as born-again Christians have married. Apparently people are more willing to spend this life married if they think they’ll have an afterlife in which to recover. Among atheists and agnostics who do marry, however, the divorce rate (30 percent) is a bit lower than that of people identified as born-again Christians (32 percent).