US Divorce Rate Decreases, New Research Says

January 14, 2017

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. consecutive / kənˈsɛk yə tɪv / (adj.) – following one after another in order or series
Example: She has been the champion for five consecutive years.

2. breakdown / ˈbreɪkˌdaʊn / (n.) – the act of analyzing and processing something to understand it further
Example: The researchers provided a detailed breakdown of the data when they presented the results.

3. determine / dɪˈtɜr mɪn / (d.) – to make a conclusion after observation
Example: They were able to determine the cause of high unemployment rate in the country.

4.  overall / ˈoʊ vərˈɔl / (adv.) – generally
Example: The number of people who buy cars has increased overall.

5. stigma / ˈstɪg mə / (n.) – a group’s negative judgment or belief about something
Example: We can fight stigma against mental illnesses by increasing awareness.


Read the text below.
A new study found that last year, divorce rates in the United States dropped to its lowest point in more than 35 years.

According to the National Center for Family and Marriage Research, divorce rates in the country declined for three consecutive years since 2013. The highest divorce rate recorded in American history was in 1980. There were 23 divorces for every 1,000 marriages during this year, but this number declined to only 16.9 in 2015.

Further breakdown of the data revealed that Washington D.C. had the highest divorce rate in the country, followed by Wyoming / waɪˈoʊ mɪŋ /. Meanwhile, the state that had the lowest divorce rate was Hawaii.

The researchers could not determine the exact reason for the drop in divorce rates, but one factor that they are considering is the fewer number of marriages in recent years. Statistics released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States showed that overall, marriage rates have steadily declined since the 1980s. Experts suspect that this is because some couples no longer consider marriage necessary in securing their relationship.

In addition, cohabitation, or living together without getting married, has also become more common among younger generations. One of the possible reasons for this trend is the decreasing stigma against cohabitation in recent years. Other factors that may also contribute to the increase in young couples who do not get married are having huge student debts and lacking a stable source of income.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         What do you think are the other possible reasons why divorce rates dropped?
·         What are possible reasons why divorce rates vary across different states?

Discussion B

·         What should couples take into consideration before getting married?
·         How do you think can a couple make their marriage work?

January 14, 2017