New Survey on Marriage and Divorce
Special Report - April 1, 2008
Divorce is as common among born-again Christians as it is among the general population, according to a new report from The Barna Group. The report, which surveyed more than 5,000 adults in the United States, concluded that “marriage is the norm” but “divorce is widespread.” The survey found that while most Americans get married (78 percent have been married once), 33 percent of all adults who have been married have divorced at least once. Among born-again Christians who have been married, 32 percent have experienced at least one divorce, nearly identical to the national average. According to the Barna survey, the population segments with the lowest likelihood of divorce include Catholics (28 percent), Evangelicals (26 percent) and conservatives (28 percent). In addition, 30 percent of atheists and agnostics who have been married have divorced. According to The Barna Group, “the three-point difference from the national average [among atheists and agnostics] was within the range of sampling error, suggesting that their likelihood of experiencing a dissolved marriage is the same as that of the population at-large.” The study also notes that atheists and agnostics have lower rates of marriage and higher rates of cohabitation than the general population. According to the story, the groups reporting the highest incidence of divorce after marriage include: Baby Boomers (38 percent), adults from non-Christian faiths (38 percent), African-Americans (36 percent), and liberals (37 percent).
“There no longer seems to be much of a stigma attached to divorce; it is now seen as an unavoidable rite of passage,” researcher George Barna stated in a press release. “Interviews with young adults suggest that they want their initial marriage to last, but are not particularly optimistic about that possibility. There is also evidence that many young people are moving toward embracing the idea of serial marriage, in which a person gets married two or three times, seeking a different partner for each phase of their adult life.”
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