Culture Question:

Why Divorce Rate in Western is so High?

(posted: Apr 2010)

There is no single reason for the high rate of divorce in the West. It is a complicated issue and there are most likely many factors which come together to produce the high divorce rates in the USA in particular. Some of these factors may include the following:

  • Divorce is possible, legal and there is no longer a strong social stigma associated with being divorced. That means that people in unhappy marriages are now leaving them instead of staying as they would have a hundred years ago.
  • Increased urbanisation. Urban living tends to weaken kinship and extended family bonds. This puts added strain on marriages. There are more people living in cities now in the West so more people are feeling these strains on their relationships.
  • Changes in women. Women no longer accept the role of being submissive and secondary in relationships and in society. Research has shown that being submissive lowers testosterone levels and so in the past the difference in testosterone levels had been artificially expanding the natural difference in these levels between the sexes. The submissive role associated with being a ‘wife’ in the past is no longer a role that many women want, and men do not want to play a submissive role either. Men and women are still working out how to be together in marriage. There are lots of stumbles while the roles change.
  • Some women and some men have unrealistic expectations (either of marriage or of their spouse) when they get married. When they realize their spouse doesn’t live up to their expectations they may leave a marriage so that they can try to find someone who will (even if their expectation continue to be unrealistic).
  • Getting married is much easier than staying married. Some people rush into marriages for the wrong reasons (in love with love not with their boy/girlfriend; parents pushing them to get married; all their friends are getting married; want a family) and then rush again when they find themselves unhappy or unfulfilled.
  • Till death do us part is committing to a longer time now. People in the past didn’t live as long as they do now. It used to be uncommon for someone to be married to the same person for more than 20 years because often one, or both, of the married partners would die.

These are just some of the factors that influence people’s married lives and may make divorce more likely.


  1. DivorceMag, “Why Do People Divorce” (, 06-Apr-2010.

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Wedding ring broken apart


Further Reading:

Why Do People Get Divorced?
Why Do People Opt for Divorce?