Divorce on the Decline in Canada and the UK, but is Property Behind it?

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Couple together

Divorce is rather commonplace in North America and the UK. However, there is a common misconception that is thrown out in Canada, the UK, and the US. They say that half of all marriages end in divorce. It’s a popular saying, but not wholly true. Stats would instead point to it holding much of its weight in the US. In the UK and Canada, it rarely reflects the stats – and certainly doesn’t after recent reports.

Already, Canada and the UK had relatively low divorce rates. The global statistics on divorce per country find Canada as having just 1.10 divorces per 1,000 people. In the UK, it’s a little bit higher at 1.70 divorces per 1,000 people. In the US, it’s up to 2.3 divorces per 1,000 people. These figures come amidst reports of declines in divorce rates in both Canada and the US. So, why is this the case?
Divorces declining in Canada and the UK

Whats behind the divorce decline?
Whats behind the divorce decline?

Since the 1990s, divorce rates have been tumbling down in Canada. In 2020, the rate of divorce hit a low not seen since 1973. Over in the UK, a decline has also been noted. In England and Wales – two of the four parts of the UK – only 80,057 divorces were granted in 2022.

This marks the lowest number of total divorces since 1971. Just between 2022 and 2021, the divorce count sunk by 29.5 percent. In 2021, England and Wales granted over 113,000 divorces. So, both Canada and the UK are seeing divorce counts so low that they’ve been unmatched since the 1970s.

Given that there are many similarities between Canada and the UK, there might be some connections between these declines. Then again, the connections might not be just between these two countries. Instead, global trends might be behind the decline in divorce.
What’s behind the divorce decline?

One reason that many might point to is the cost of living pressures that have increased over the last few years. This, then, would point to two people seeking to keep hold of their most valuable asset: property. Housing markets have slumped in recent years, and it’s notoriously difficult to sell a house around a divorce. That was, until recently. House prices have risen, people have adopted downsizing, and there are services to help with this situation.

In the UK, for example, there’s a local operator that will help with selling a house after a divorce. The idea is to make the potentially stressful situation simpler. Part of this is to let the sellers stay in the property rent-free for a while after selling without hidden fees. So, those who divorce have a bit more of a bumper when planning their exits.

If not the house sale issue, what could drive down divorces? In Canada, it might just be a case of fewer marriages. In 1991, 54 percent of people of legal age were getting married. By 2021, that figure had tumbled to 44 percent. In the UK, eight in ten people in 2021 aged 20 to 24 were common-law partners rather than in a marriage.

Maybe financial pressures have brought down divorce rates. What’s a bit more likely is that, quite simply, fewer people are getting married in the UK and Canada.

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