Friday, December 26, 2008

Swedes, marriage and divorce

I have heard more than once that Swedes were supposed to have a really high divorce rate from Americans. This seemed odd to me from my personal experiences of my friends. In general, it has seemed to me that Americans are way more prone to be divorced than people in Sweden. However, it could just have been that the people I met tended to be divorced in the USA and not in Sweden so I decided to look it up.

I already know that in the US the divorce rate is between 43% to 50% depending on how you count it because I researched that for another blog entry on gay marriage. I found the statistics on the Swedish data on this site about regional Swedish statistics. In Sweden the divorce rate varies a lot between around 15% to almost 30%. The national average is 22.4% though. So in short if you get married in the USA you are about twice as likely to get divorced than you are in Sweden. This corresponds pretty well to my personal experience on this issue as well.

I think one of the main reasons for this difference is that in Sweden people tend to date a lot longer before they get married. I would say the average among my friends is somewhere around 7 years. And critically almost everybody have lived together for a few years before getting married. You just don't know that you can stand someone for the rest of your life until you have cohabited in my opinion. Also most people tend to change and grow a lot between the age of 20 to 30 and the chance of you wanting to spend your life with the same person when you are around 20 as when you are around 30 is pretty slim (I am not saying it doesn't happen, but it is by sense a certainty). After 30 I think most people have found out who they are and change a lot less than when you are younger. If you tend to date longer the chance of you getting married before you have finished growing (Personality wise, not physically) is smaller.

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