Despite conservative ideology that lauds “traditional American values,” red states have considerably higher divorce rates than blue states, according to a recent study reported by the Huffington Post. The study, entitled Red States, Blue States and Divorce: Understanding the Impact of Conservative Protestantism on Regional Variation in Divorce Rates will be published in late January in the American Journal of Sociology.
Authored by demographer and University of Texas at Austin professor Jennifer Glass, the study explains the theory behind why divorce rates are consistently higher “in religious states like Arkansas and Alabama—which boast the second and third highest divorce rates, respectively—but lower in more liberal states like New Jersey and Massachusetts,” according to the Huffington Post.
The most interesting finding in Glass’s study is that “conservative religious culture is in fact a major contributing factor [to high divorce rates] thanks to ‘the social institutions they create’ that ‘decrease marital stability.’” Examples of these traditions could include the refusal to cohabitate before marriage, the pressure to get married younger, and abstinence-only sex education. Religious culture, Glass found, “permeated into the divorce rates of even the non-religious people who lived there.”
The findings came as a surprise to many, W. Bradford Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project among them. Wilcox told the Los Angeles Times that, “in some contexts in America today, religion is a buffer against divorce. But in the conservative Protestant context, this paper is showing us that it’s not.”
A 2013 study reported by US News and World Report found that children of religious parents who get divorced are more likely to leave the church. Jeremy Uecker, a professor at Baylor University and the study’s lead author told US News and World Report that, “when both parents are religious, the effect of the divorce has a negative effect on religiosity.” Over time, this finding could affect the correlation of religion and divorce rates in red states.
If you or someone you know is considering divorce in Connecticut, the most important first step is to seek legal counsel. Contact Greenberg & Krieger LLP today.