Explaining why New Jersey has the lowest divorce rates in the United States

The lowest divorce rates in the United States are in New Jersey and here’s why:

According to the 2011 American Community Survey released last month by the Census Bureau, New Jersey ranks last among the states in the percentage of residents 18 and older who are divorced. Just 9 percent of New Jersey adults are divorced, compared with nearly 52 percent of whom are now married.

“The composition of New Jersey married individuals is quite favorable across several indicators, providing some evidence for the low divorce rate,” said Susan L. Brown, a sociology professor and co-director of the National Center for Family and Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. “These factors include education, race-ethnicity, age, and age at first marriage.”…

“They tend to delay marriage until an age when they’re emotionally and financially ready,” said Deborah Carr, a sociology professor at Rutgers. “Higher education and high age at marriage are two of the most important factors that protect against divorce risk. And the current recession not withstanding, New Jersey is among the wealthier states in the nation, and economic stability also contributes to marital stability.”…

“In general, the northeastern states have lower divorce rates because their citizens are more highly educated and marry at older ages than do people in other regions,” said Andrew J. Cherlin, a professor of public policy at Johns Hopkins.

In other words, certain social conditions lead to lower rates of divorce in New Jersey and other northeastern states. Having more money, more education, and being older (all related to socioeconomic status?) leads to fewer divorces. These findings could also be related to recent suggestions that those with higher levels of education are more likely to marry (also see here).

Does this mean New Jersey will start promoting itself as a family-friendly state?

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