Happy Families: Men Behaving Better

According to the Office for National Statistics, overall crude divorce rates are down by one third from the peak levels in the early 1990s and 2000s. However comparing total divorces from one year to the next (‘year of divorce’) tells us little about underlying trends. Our method looks at the trend in divorce rates over time for each individual year of marriage (‘year of marriage’).

Analysis of new data specially commissioned by Marriage Foundation reveals that almost all of this fall in divorce rates is due to fewer divorces granted to wives during the early years of marriage – strongly suggesting that today’s newlywed husbands are doing better.

Compared to 1986, the worst year in which to have married, cumulative divorces granted to wives have now fallen by half during the early years of marriage. In sharp contrast, cumulative divorce rates granted to husbands have changed little, if anything rising slightly.

This gender shift was not apparent ten years ago. The simplest explanation is reduced social and family pressure for men to marry. Newlywed husbands within the last decade have become more intentional about their entry into marriage, leading to happier wives and lower divorce.


Here you can download the Research Briefing Paper as a PDF and the Press Release where it is available.

Media Links

The Sunday Times, 27th December 2015
By Nicholas Hellen: Fewer women seek divorce as men shape up
The Daily Mail, 27th December 2015
By Isabel Hunter: Fewer women are seeking divorce as men behave less badly: Number of wives seeking split drops by half since the mid 1980s

The Guardian, 28th December 2015
By Caroline Davies: Divorce inquiries predicted to rise more than 300% in January
The Sun, 28th December 2015
By Katie Hodge: Blokes triumph as fewer new wives file for early divorce within five years

New Zealand Herald, 28th December 2015
Divorces drop as men ‘get better at housework’

Herald Sun, 29th December 2015
Divorces less likely
The Courier Mail, 29th December 2015
Wives more satisfied as husbands wise up: Study

Daily Times, 29th December
Number of wives seeking split drops by half since the mid 1980s : Fewer women are seeking divorce as men behave less badly

IOL South Africa, 4th January 2016
By Rosie Taylor: More housework a stronger marriage makes

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