Statistics Children of Divorce

In the United States 44% of the first mariages end up in divorce according to statistics children of divorce.

In Canada the percentage is 38.

This means more then 1.000.000 children in the United States are involved in a divorce. The number of divorces are increasing still.

Cohabitation (meaning parents are living together unmarried) is not included in these figures:

In Canada, about 16% (2001) of the couples cohabite. In the United States, a little over 8% (2001) of the couples cohabite.

Separation of the parents are not included in the most statistics children of divorce.

Questions that arise are:

What are the problems for the children?

Behavior problems, lower self esteem, tend to trust others less, get lower grades at school and psychological problems. They are also less able to make friends, have a higher risk to use too much alcohol and drugs and have a higher risk to get on the criminal path.

Later on in life, they tend to have more risky sexual relationships, are unhappier and more of them have children without being married. Read more about the effects of divorce on children.

Do these problems result from the divorce?

Most people automatically think that children having one or more of the problems like described above, results from the divorce of their parents.

However, this is not always the case. It is very well possible that children developed those problems before the separation or the divorce. The parental situation is causing the problems with the children. The divorce can happen much later in time or even not at all.

So, it is difficult to know the root causes of the problems that the children have. In some occasions, a divorce will relieve the situation for the children and the number and the size of their problems will reduce.

What are the consequences for our society?

Increased high school drop-outs, more behavior problems, more psychological problems and a doubled change of divorcing themselves in their adult lives all puts a heavy burden on society.

12% of children of married parents visit a psychologist. 25% of the children of divorce do.

Furthermore, there is more criminal behavior and in situations where the parenting is not done properly, public child support must step in.

Some policy makers and debaters agrue that the problems for children resulting from divorce are not as damaging than other issues.

Children of divorce face many problems that have a small effect on society individually. But if you add them up over the millions, the consequences can be huge. Children of divorce have a 2 times higher risk to run into many problems.

The financial burden of divorce on our society is huge.

Do children's problems diminish now divorce is much more accepted?

Social rejection or acceptance has apparently a small influence on the psyche of the child. The difference in performance between children of divorced parents and children that are living with their married parents grew smaller between 1960 and 1980. After 1980 these differences became bigger again.

What does help children of divorce?

There is a lot of debate going on about children and divorce. A lot of research is carried out, but the conclusions do not always correspond.

Most statistics children of divorce point out what helps from a policy point of view:

  • Improving cultural and legal policies
  • Improving the social and phycological conditions
  • improving the economic situation
  • Involving the fathers in the life of the children more*

*Involving the fathers in the life of the children more may contribute to a happier child and may reduce the negative effects. Initiatives to involve fathers more in the life of the children are only beneficial if the father contributes in a positive way of course.

If the father negatively influences the children, the effects are negative.

Examples are: the father is unemployed, he has mental issues, he is using to much alcohol or drugs, he displays antisocial behavior or he keeps on fighting with the mother.

In those situations, he'll better stay away.

These statistics children of divorce factors contribute to a reduction of divorces and to a reduction of the negative effects of divorce on children.

By Reinier Bloem
Are you a Child Friendly Divorced Parent? Do the
Self Assessment

Recommended reading:

Anxiety Free Child Program Overcome Child Anxiety. Untreated anxiety can destroy a childs life. Your child does not have to suffer.

Helping Children Through DivorceHelping Children Through Divorce

by Wendy Mollah
Will Your Children Survive Divorce?