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B . What factors are associated with a higher risk for divorce?

To say that nearly half of all first marriages end in divorce sounds a lot like saying marriage is just a game of chance. But a lot of research has identified various factors that are associated with a higher risk for divorce. So some people actually have a low risk of divorce while others have a high risk. Understanding these factors may not directly help you improve your marriage or make a decision about divorce, but it may help you understand why you may be facing some challenges. Of course, these factors do not guarantee that you will divorce; they simply increase your risk. Here are some factors that appear to increase the risk of divorce the most. But it is not a complete list of risk factors.

1. Young age.

Marriage at a very young age increases the likelihood of divorce, especially in the early years of marriage. Those who marry in their teens have much higher divorce rates. By about age 21 or 22, however, that risk goes down dramatically. Utahns do tend to marry young compared to the national average. The average age at first marriage for Utah is 22 for women and 23 for men. Those who delay marriage until their 20s are probably more mature and able to make better marriage decisions and handle the challenges of married life better than those who marry in their teens.

2. Less education.

Researchers have estimated that individuals who have some college education (vs. not finishing high school) have a lower chance of divorce. Utahns are more likely to graduate from high school and get some college education than Americans in general. Apparently, investing in education is a good way to build a foundation for a better marriage, not just a better job.

3. Less income.

Closely related to education is income. Researchers have estimated that individuals with annual incomes of more than $50,000 have a lower chance of divorce (compared to individuals with annual incomes less than $25,000). Finances can be stressful. Apparently having at least a modest income can help couples avoid stresses that can lead to divorce.

4.Premarital cohabitation.

Couples who live together before marriage appear to have a much higher chance of divorce if they marry. However, this risk is mostly for those who live together with more than one partner. Most only live together with one partner (whom they later marry) and these couples don’t seem to be at a lot greater risk for divorce. The idea that living together before marriage increases your risk for divorce goes against a lot of common beliefs that it is a good way to get to know each other better and prepare for marriage. Living together may be a way to get to know each other better, but other things about living together apparently do not help—and even hurt—your chances for a successful marriage, especially if you live together with several people before marrying. Researchers have found that those who live together already have or develop more lenient attitudes about divorce. But some researchers also think that living together may hinder building a strong commitment to each other and the importance of marriage.

5. Premarital childbearing and pregnancy.

Pregnancy and childbearing prior to marriage significantly increase the likelihood of future divorce. In America, more than one-third (37%) of children are born to parents who are not married, and few of these parents eventually marry. Most of those parents will separate before the child begins school, and some will never really get together. Fortunately, Utah’s rate of unwed births is one of the lowest in the nation.

6. No religious affiliation.

Researchers have estimated that individuals who report belonging to some religious group have a somewhat lower chance of divorce than those who say they have no religious affiliation. And if couples share the same religious affiliation, their chances of divorce are even lower.

7. Parents’ divorce.

Of course, some risk factors for divorce you can’t control. If you experienced the divorce of your parents, unfortunately that doubles your risk for divorce. And if your spouse also experienced his or her parents’ divorce, then your risk for divorce more than triples. This is scary, but it doesn’t doom your marriage to failure. It does suggest that individuals who experienced the divorce of their parents need to work even harder to make good marriage choices and to keep their marriage strong and happy.

8. Insecurity.

Researchers have found that some personality factors put people at more risk for divorce. One of the most important is feeling insecure about yourself and your self-worth. Insecure individuals are more likely to become It is interesting to note that a significant number of divorced individuals—maybe up to about half—report that they wished they or their ex- spouse had tried harder to work through differences.