THE STUDY OF CLOSE RELATIONSHIPS IN THE EARLY 21ST CENTURY
As the 2000 U.S. Presidential election neared, a dialogue was occurring among candidates and the general public about the unabated high divorce rate in this country and how the divorce rate affects the American family. For over 3 decades, the divorce rate has been between 40% and 50% of all new marriages. All parts of the United States appear to have experienced significant divorce rates during this period. Even areas with major religious affiliations among the general populace have been affected. A UP headline in 1999 (November 13, 1999, reported in Iowa City Press-Citizen) said, “Bible Belt States Struggle with Divorce.” This article noted that although the overall rate per 1,000 people was 4.2 divorces, the rate was 6.4 in Tennessee, 6.1 in Arkansas, and 6.0 in Alabama and Oklahoma. In contrast, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York had rates of less than 3.0. Why might these differential rates be occurring at the start of the 21st century?