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Pennsylvania Family Law Updates, Events & Useful Tips Surrounding Family Law Issues

MINING THE DATA ON MARRIAGE, DIVORCE AND BIRTHS

Posted in Divorce, Practice Issues

As we all know sometimes statistics tell a story.  And as we look at the evolving American family the data coming out of Pennsylvania tell an interesting story as the family has evolved over 50 years.  The chart will tell most of the story:

Year

PA Population

No. of Marriages

No. of Divorces

No. of Births

         

1960

11,319,000

71,835

14,429

241,100

1970

11,794,000

94,516

22,622

192,154

1980

11,864,000

93,673

34,922

158,670

1990

11,882,000

84,925

39,971

171,532

2000

12,281,000

74,311*

38,479*

145,874

2010

12,702,000

67,950

34,899

142,000

* This data comes from 2002 as the Pa. Dept of Health states it did not preserve data from 1999-2001 on these topics.

 

Some points we find interesting.  First the state’s population has actually started to experience some growth in the past 20 years after a generation of stagnation. But while the population had grown 11% over half a century the number of marriages has remained fairly static after peaking in 1970.  The number of divorces rose precipitously from 11-14,000 per annum in the 1950s to 22,622 in 1970.  By 1979 it almost doubled again to 39,808.  But since, 2002 it appears to have actually declined by a few percentage points.  The birth rate has plummeted 40% since 1960. In 1960 there was a child born for every 47 residents.  Today one child is born for every 89 residents.  So families are smaller and fewer folks are choosing the formalities of marriage.  But while the population has grown 3.4% in the first decade of the 21st century, the number of divorces actually declined by almost 10%. It does give one pause to ask: what is the future of marriage where over 40 years the population grew by 7% but the number of marriages performed fell during the same time frame by 28%?