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Jobless Husbands & Divorce

By on August 25, 2016

Contrary to common belief, a new U.S. study suggests that women’s growing role in the workforce is not a major factor in divorce. But a husband’s ability to keep a full-time job might be.

The study, of over 6,300 U.S. couples, found that the odds of divorce were no different whether a wife worked full-time or not. Instead, it was husbands’ full-time employment — or lack thereof — that made a significant difference.

The findings stand in stark contrast to a popular notion — that “working women” are partly responsible for fueling the U.S. divorce rate.

“Some prior work has suggested that women’s economic independence has made it easier for them to leave a marriage, and that might increase the odds of divorce,” explained study author Alexandra Killewald. She is a professor of sociology at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. 

“I found no evidence of that,” she said.

In fact, Killewald found no evidence that either wives’ incomes or couples’ incomes were a major factor in divorce.

“It seems that the dollars don’t matter,” she said. “But our expectations of men and women might.”

Why? Killewald pointed to some other patterns the study turned up: In more recent years, wives’ willingness to do the lion’s share of housework has become less important in marriage stability. But men’s work outside the home still matters.

Killewald found that among couples married before 1975, the odds of divorce were lower when wives were doing most or all of the housework.

But that pattern no longer existed among couples married between 1975 and 2011, the findings showed.


Full article can be found here.