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Why are marriage rates so low? Study says fear of divorce

Many don't know it, but marriage rates have actually sustained quite a drop. One college professor who conducted a study recently thinks she may know why, thanks to some unexpected results in her research.

According to the Huffington Post, the woman, who is a social demographer, conducted 122 interviews. Interestingly, even though most of her questions had to do with cohabitation, again and again people brought up divorce. She noticed an interesting trend.

Of the people she and her colleagues talked to, about two-thirds of them brought up fears of divorce, without being prompted with questions about divorce. They were only asked about the benefits of cohabitating as they relate to marriage. The head researcher tells the Huffington Post those results were as surprising as a slap in the face.

She concludes, therefore, that there is probably a correlation between people's fears of divorce and low marriage rates. It may help explain what she calls the delay in marriage, and why people are choosing to marry later and later in life.

Being children of divorced couples may make people extra cautious, but it does not stop them from being in relationships. They may, however, decide to live together for a longer period of time prior to marriage.

In terms of class and gender, the study found that women with less education tend to be more concerned about getting trapped in a bad marriage with no financial means to get out. And the middle class respondents seem to have a lopsided view of divorce rates, possibly a result of high profile celebrity divorces in the news all the time.

What do you think? Where does this fear of divorce originate?

Source: Huffington Post, "Marriage rates: divorce fears to blame for low rates?," Katherine Bindley, Dec. 22, 2011