Over the last three years, studies have shown that the U.S. divorce rate has been increasing steadily since it hit a 40 year low in 2009. In fact, as documented by the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of divorces in the United States rose sharply to around 2.4 million in 2012. In response to this increase in the national divorce rate, news outlets have recently reported that the recent rise in U.S. divorce rates may be an indicator that the nation’s economy is improving.
This assertion may be evidenced by the fact that couples who would otherwise seek divorce tend to remain married during times of economic downturn, due to economic instability, the lack of resources sufficient to maintain two separate households, and the cost associated with divorce. Once the economy begins to experience positive growth, unhappy couples go forward with the divorce plans that they previously put on hold. However, some experts propose that divorce may not only be a positive indicator of economic recovery, but divorce may actually be a driving force behind economic recovery.
Specifically, divorce may have a direct positive impact on the economy by creating greater demand for housing (former spouses require two homes rather than one) and by placing more individuals in the work force (divorced women are more likely to be employed and work longer hours). Additionally, as un-married individuals tend to spend more for living expenses per year than married individuals, divorce may also result in more money being directly infused into the economy due to the increased spending of divorced individuals.