American Journal of Sociology study explains why divorce rates are higher in conservative states

A new study titled “Red States, Blue States, and Divorce: Understanding the Impact of Conservative Protestantism on Regional Variation in Divorce Rates,” which was published in late January in the American Journal of Sociology, explored why states with more conservative and religious people, like Arkansas and Alabama, which have the second and third highest divorce rates in the country, have higher divorce rates than the more liberal states like New Jersey and Massachusetts.

Demographer and University of Texas at Austin professor Jennifer Glass found that religion had a profound effect on married couples’ relationship stability and marital longevity due to the “social institutions it creates.” These findings oppose the previous explanation, which was that divorce was more common due to socioeconomic hardships.

Glass wrote that a more religious culture that is more likely to frown on divorce is also the kind to pressure young couples into marriage by denouncing co-habitation, advocating abstinence, and making it hard for people to gain access to birth control information, thus resulting in unwanted pregnancies and unstable marriage foundations.

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