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College graduates less likely to get divorcedOkay, so it isn’t foolproof — I have a college degree and have gone through one myself — but new findings from the Bureau of Labor Statistics have revealed that if you want to avoid the divorce papers, you have better chances if you’re a college grad (provided you’re also a baby boomer).

The BLS looked at the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 (NLSY79) and discovered that persons born during the period from 1957 to 1964 showed an improved ability to stay together if they had attained a bachelor’s degree than if they had only gone as far as high school.

The Numbers

“Men and women who did not complete high school were less likely to marry than were men and women with more education. Men who earned a bachelor’s degree were more likely to marry than men with less education,” the BLS release explained. “The chance of a marriage ending in divorce was lower for people with more education, with over half of marriages of those who did not complete high school having ended in divorce compared with approximately 30 percent of marriages of college graduates.”


BLS did not attempt to identify reasons for the finding, though they did demonstrate that findings held up for African-Americans.

However, at the beginning of the release, they did identify some general reasons for an increase in the overall rate of boomers who decided to file for divorce. Speculations included the following:

  • The rise of the women’s liberation movement
  • The advent of the sexual revolution
  • An increase in women’s labor force participation, which “altered perceptions of gender roles within marriage during the last 50 years”
  • Changing of cultural norms so that there was a decreased “aversion to being single” and increased “probability of cohabitation”
  • A decrease in the stigma attached to divorce
  • The appearance of no-fault divorce laws in many states

Other Factors Not Mentioned By BLS

Something else that may explain the discrepancy between divorce rates of high school-educated boomers and college-educated: for a number of years, there have been tax advantages in place for married couples, and those with college degrees have demonstrated better earning power overall. Two incomes and tax benefits could combine to defeat the leading cause of divorce — financial difficulties. While high school-educated couples would be subject to the same benefits, the absence of a degree beyond high school could also indicate both a lack of awareness of these benefits, lower earning power, and general uncertainty as to what one wants out of life.

What do you think the major causes of the education finding surrounding divorce are? And do you think these numbers will hold steady for future generations?

As always, if we can help you navigate your online divorce, let us know!

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