The events of 2020 were not kind to a wide array of civil institutions in Minnesota and beyond. The psychological toll of the pandemic was felt in a number of visceral ways, which led many analysts to predict that divorces would increase in 2020. Did the divorce rate actually spike in 2020 as predicted?
Divorces down significantly
Despite the gloomy outlook, divorce rates actually declined in 2020. Researchers who studied five states in particular found that “the U.S. had an estimated ‘shortfall’ of 339,917 marriages and 191,053 divorces,” meaning almost 200,000 fewer divorces than anticipated.
Why did the divorce rate decline in 2020?
The analysts who looked at the data cautioned getting the wrong takeaway out of the numbers. According to them, the lower divorce rate may not signify that marriages became happier during 2020. Instead, the researchers theorize, couples may be more reluctant to split due to financial or other pressures experienced during this period and may be simply waiting for a more opportune time to part ways. Also, government offices across Minnesota and the United States either shut down completely or significantly limited their operations for part of the year.
Although fewer couples ended their marriages in 2020, that doesn’t mean divorces disappeared completely. Divorce is still a common reality and difficult decision that many people make.
The data indicating fewer divorces in 2020 may come as a surprise but should be taken with a grain of salt. In analyzing the information, it’s important to consider all the possible factors that led to this declining number of divorces, including the closure of government offices necessary for processing divorces and difficult financial choices that many couples face.