The divorce rate in America has been a rather popular and curious subject in recent years. This may be mostly due to the rising number of couples who are filing in the current years. Whatever the reason, there continues to be much research done in the area, including the most common causes for divorces, the affects of divorce, even the methods to prevent divorce. All of these studies, and many more appear to be narrowing in on people's ethnicity and faith as a rising trend. Through many surveys, different organizations have gathered information that brings us some interesting trends to call into question.
First of all, statistics confirm the frequency of divorce based on ethnic groups. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 10.8 percent of white couples, 11.5 percent of black couples, 8 percent of Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander couples, and only 4.9 percent of Asian couples divorced between the years 2005 and 2009. This survey also showed that 12.6 percent American Indian and Alaska Native couples, 7.8 percent of couples of Hispanic or Latino origin, and 11.1 percent of couples of two or more races divorce. To put all of these in perspective, 11 percent of these divorces were native born while 7 percent were foreign born (1).
These numbers have raised questions and even gained the attention of the press. These same reports from the U.S. Census Bureau were published in January of this year on the "internet newspaper," The Huffington Post. The article gave the exact same data results found on the Bureau's website; however, the comments from readers posted on the article are interesting. Most people responded in disbelief or disapproval in one way or another. Some did not believe the numbers they were seeing could possibly be accurate. Some suggested that there were probably discrepancies in the counting due to different circumstances, such as couples that live together but are not married. And still others left belligerent comments arguing the study's intentions. They found the study racist arguing that separating race leads the reader to make conclusions to the superiority of a racial group (7). Clearly, for the use of scientific study, the premise would have been dismissed; still many readers did not agree with the statistics.
The Center for Family and Demographic Research produced a document discussing "Race-Ethnic Differences in Marital Quality and Divorce" (8). This document discusses some ideas leading to the differences in numbers of divorces among different nationalities pointing to marital quality as being the determining factor. It can be assumed that people's culture is actually a determining factor in the quality of marriage. For instance, the document reads, "Consistent with the paradox of Mexican-American nuptiality, we conclude that aspects of Mexican-American culture may play a role in preserving marital quality and stability for this group despite their precarious economic situation" (8). This statement suggests that race and culture actually determine a better or less likely chance of individuals being able to sustain a lasting marriage. The Center for Family and Demographic Research clearly states that their conclusions have insufficient amount of research to explain the differences in quality of marriage among races, however they, along with the numerous sources they cite, believe there is most definitely a difference not depending on individuals, but on an individual's race: