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New study may help explain Oregon’s higher than average divorce rate

The most well-known task of the U.S. Census Bureau is gathering a population count of the country every ten years. But, the Census Bureau also gathers other types on information on an ongoing basis. Results from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey released in November, 2013 have interesting implications for divorce in Oregon.

Oregon’s percentage of divorced adults about two percent higher than national average

The recent American Community Survey collected data from approximately one in every 38 American households per year. The participants were randomly selected, and data from 2007 to 2011 was combined to arrive at the average percentage of people who have been divorced in different localities around the United States.

Oregon Divorce Rate Statistics

All told, around 10.5 percent of U.S. adults have been divorced. In Oregon, however, about 12.5 percent of adults have gone through a divorce at some point.

In addition to strict percentages, the survey also reported on divorce rates. Both divorce and marriage rates tend to fall during economic recessions, so it is not surprising that both exhibited a general pattern of decline between 2007 and 2009. As of the last year data was collected for the survey, 2011, per 1,000 Americans – regardless of age – there were around 3.6 divorces and 3.4 marriages annually. One Oregon town, Medford, had the fourth highest rate of divorce in the nation.

Study links friends getting divorced to one’s own likelihood of getting divorced

Obviously, every divorce involves a number of unique personal factors. There are also many demographic factors that have been linked to divorce. But one new study out of Yale’s Human Nature Lab may suggest an interesting reason behind Oregon’s higher divorce rate.

In the 2013 study, data concerning a sample of 5,000 people was analyzed. According to the authors, individuals with a friend who is divorced are themselves 270 percent – nearly three times – more likely to get divorced. The effect extended to two degrees of separation, meaning that divorces among friends of friends appeared to have some effect on an individual’s likelihood of divorce. Interestingly, the substantially increased odds of divorce were only observed when a friend had previously been divorced; divorces of neighbors, family members or coworkers had less of an effect.

The recent Yale research had similar results to a 2009 study from Brown University in finding a link between divorce rates in a social circle and one’s likelihood of personally going through a divorce.

A friend’s divorce can sometimes be a good example

While the study seemed to reveal a definite phenomenon of divorce spreading through social circles, researchers could only speculate as to the reasons behind this effect. But, getting divorced after a friend does is not necessarily a bad thing; the study’s senior author hypothesized that one possible explanation for the phenomenon is that when someone observes a friend’s life improving after a divorce, that person may start to think about ending his or her own unhappy marriage.

Whatever your reasons for considering divorce, experienced legal assistance can guide you through the process and help ensure that you get what you want in a settlement or court ordered judgment. Talk to an Oregon family law attorney today if you think divorce might be in your future.