Ever wondered how our society knows what the marriage or divorce rates are? While surveys may provide insight into American family life, the majority of our reliable data comes from the Census Bureau.
Divorces and marriages are always filed at the local courthouse but this data is nothing more than a legal record until the Census Bureau collects and intelligently compiles it, affording us an opportunity to uncover trends and other important information. The Census Bureau is poised to soon end this task.
Along with other recent changes by various governmental entities, our nation will lose insight into trends and important issues developing in U.S. families. These data cuts are harmful because we currently rely on these sources to delve deep into societal issues, such as why divorce and marriage trends are different between the wealthy and the poor, or whether later-in-life marriages have a lower divorce rate.
The notion of the normal American family as a man and woman – in their first and only marriage – with two biological children no longer applies to much of America. But without the Census Bureau data, our answer as to what U.S. households look like will largely fall to guesswork.
If you need assistance with divorce, child custody, spousal maintenance or another family law matter, speak with an experienced family law attorney.
Source: The New York Times, “Census Bureau’s Plan To Cut Marriage And Divorce Questions Has Academics Up In Arms,” Justin Wolfers, Dec. 31, 2014