Her book holds that “because so many variables in the marriage-and-divorce equation are changing, a simple calculation comparing marriages and divorces in a given year ends up distorting the result and suggesting that the divorce rate is higher than it really is.” One factor in the overall divorce-rate picture is that couples today tend to marry at an older age than was the case in 1970, for example.
Studies indicate that the “risk for divorce drops significantly when couples wait to wed until after the age of twenty-five,” Parker-Pope writes.
However, the analysis of trends in family formation and dissolution based on just marriage and divorce data might not offer a full picture.
Legal alternatives to marriage, like registered partnership, have become more widespread and national legislation has changed to confer more rights on unmarried couples.
The Americans for Divorce Reform estimates that "Probably, 40 or possibly even 50 percent of marriages will end in divorce if current trends continue", which is actually a projection.
This article presents developments that have taken place in relation to family formation and dissolution through an analysis of marriage and divorce indicators.
Marriage, as recognised by the law of each country, has long been considered to mark the formation of a family unit.
Some 2.1 million marriages and 943 thousand divorces took place in the EU-28 in 2013, according to the most recent data available for all EU Member States.
These figures may be expressed as 4.1 marriages for every 1 000 persons (in other words the crude marriage rate) and 1.9 divorces for every 1 000 persons (in other words the crude divorce rate).