According to a report by the U.S. Census Bureau and reported on in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pennsylvanians are both marrying and divorcing at a lower rate than the rest of the country (including California), a quality they share with many men and women of the Northeast.
That may be because more people in the Northeast delay their marriages until their education is complete. Delayed, or later, marriages have traditionally been viewed as more likely to last longer. That’s a link making itself known more favorably in states like Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York than in places like Arkansas, Georgia and West Virginia, where divorce rates are well above the norm, according to the data released today from the 2009 American Community Survey.
Sociologists have found that factors such as age, income, religion and education can all play key roles in timing and success of marriage. Diana Elliott, a Census Bureau family demographer, said the relatively high percentage of people who pursue degrees in the Northeast is presumably a primary reason for lower marriage and divorce rates. “In the Northeast, first marriages tend to be delayed and the marriage rates are lower, meaning there are also fewer divorces,” she said.
At the same time that marriages have been postponed, there has been a surge in cohabitation among unmarried couples across the United States. The new census report does not address those relationships and their outcomes.