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When Harry left Sally: A New Estimate of Marital Disruption in the U.S., 1860 - 1948

Author

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  • Tomas Cvrcek

    (Clemson University)

Abstract

Divorce rate is a poor indicator of marital instability because many marital disruptions never become divorces. This paper provides the first estimate of the rate of marital disruption in the U.S. in 1860 - 1948. Marital disruption rate was similar to divorce rate after the Civil War but the two rates wildly diverged in the early 20th century. In 1900 - 1930, the disruption rate was as much as double the divorce rate, implying that perhaps half of all disruptions never reached the court. In the long run, the cohort rate of marital disruption increased from about 10% in the mid-1860s to about 30% in the 1940s.

Suggested Citation

  • Tomas Cvrcek, 2009. "When Harry left Sally: A New Estimate of Marital Disruption in the U.S., 1860 - 1948," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 21(24), pages 719-758, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:dem:demres:v:21:y:2009:i:24
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    File URL: https://www.demographic-research.org/volumes/vol21/24/21-24.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Ken Smith & Cathleen Zick, 1994. "Linked lives, dependent demise? Survival analysis of husbands and wives," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 31(1), pages 81-93, February.
    2. Teresa Martin & Larry Bumpass, 1989. "Recent trends in marital disruption," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 26(1), pages 37-51, February.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Matthew J. Hill, 2014. "Love in the time of the depression: The effect of economic conditions on marriage in the Great Depression," Economics Working Papers 1454, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
    2. Peter Koudijs & Laura Salisbury, 2016. "Bankruptcy and Investment: Evidence from Changes in Marital Property Laws in the U.S. South, 1840-1850," NBER Working Papers 21952, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    divorce; marital disruption; separation;

    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • Z0 - Other Special Topics - - General

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