Over the past few decades, the level of divorce, measured by the crude divorce rate (CDR), has recently declined or stabilized in some countries. To investigate whether the recent decline or stabilization of the CDRs reflects the real trends in divorce risk, a decomposition analysis was conducted on the changes in the CDRs over the past 20 years on two western and three East Asian countries, namely, the UK, Australia, Taiwan, South Korea, and Singapore. The following is observed: the decline in the CDRs of the UK and Australia in the 1990s, and of Taiwan and Korea in the 2000s, was mainly due to shrinkage in the proportion of the married population rather than any reduction in divorce risk; only Australia experienced a genuine reduction in divorce risk between 2001 and 2011. The drastic decline in marriage, has distorted the CDRs, making them unreliable indicators for monitoring divorce trends.
Presented in Session 9. Marriage, Family, Households, & Unions; Gender, Race, & Ethnicity