Turns Out That the Husband’s Job Is Probably the Best Predictor of Divorce
The predictors of divorce, however, remain mysterious. But in a (Link): new study published in the American Sociological Review, Harvard sociologist Alexandra Achen Killewald has found that the things that increase the probability of divorce — as they relate to work, at least — have changed over the past couple decades. It turns out that the amount of money that either the husband or wife makes isn’t that important: For contemporary couples, the biggest determinant is whether the husband is working full-time.
…The data set is enviably large. She tracked 6,309 married couples between 1968 and 2013, 1,684 of whom divorced or permanently separated during that time.
…The results contradict a couple of the leading explanations for why people divorce and why so many people broke up in the 70s and 80s in particular.
…“This shows that, for contemporary couples, wives can combine paid and unpaid labor in various ways without threatening the stability of their marriages,” Killewald wrote to Science of Us in an email. ”But, for those same marriage cohorts, the risk of divorce increases substantially when the husband isn’t employed full-time.” While the homemaker ideal has waned in importance, the notion of the breadwinner is still hanging on.