Dating in 1970
The feminist-driven fight for equality in the workplace caused many women to seek equality at home in their marriages as well, and if they didn’t find it there, they simply left.Finally, the general eradication of social stigmas concerning a variety of topics like abortion, sex, and divorce largely stemmed from the feminist movement in their struggle for rights.Fertility and pregnancy control made possible by "the pill" and legalized abortion may help to explain both the recent decline in divorces and a rise in out-of-wedlock births.
These forces include the aforementioned rise of the birth control pill; higher incomes for women and greater access to education; and new household labor-saving technologies that make it more likely a marriage today will involve people with "similar incomes and interests" as opposed to individuals with clearly defined and distinctly different domestic and wage earning roles.
In particular, they argue that marriages can no longer be characterized as having household specialization and children as the central tenet.
These changes mean that couples today have different expectations about the benefits of both forming a union and formalizing that union through marriage.
Early in their analysis, Stevenson and Wolfers consider two basic trends in modern marriage and divorce.
First, there is the often-cited fact that the marriage rate today is "the lowest in recorded history." But less discussed, they note, is the fact that the divorce rate today -- 3.6 divorces per one thousand couples per year -- is at its lowest level since 1970.