Staying Married Forever — Do You Have a Better Shot in New Jersey?
If you know a struggling married couple out of state, maybe you should tell them to come to New Jersey.
According to the latest data from the National Center for Family & Marriage Research at Bowling Green University, New Jersey has the fourth-lowest divorce rate in the nation.
For every 1,000 women (15 and older) in the Garden State, there were 13.9 divorces in 2015. That's tied with Delaware. Only Hawaii, Wisconsin and Rhode Island performed better.
Nationally, there were 16.9 divorces per 1,000 women.
New Jersey is one of just two states, with Hawaii, that had one of the five lowest divorce rates in both 2014 and 2015.
"I like to see people stay married," Marty Tashman, licensed family and marriage therapist in the Somerset section of Franklin, said in response to the data. "It's just so much better than the messiness of a divorce — losing finances, losing an emotional history."
While there's no specific reason known for New Jersey's pleasant ranking, other statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau help with forming a few theories.
A slightly smaller percentage of men and women in New Jersey are actually tying the knot. In 2015, 37.2 percent of males and 31.2 percent of females were counted as "never married." In 2012, 36.4 percent of males and 30.2 percent of females never said "I do."
And 2010 Census data show men and women in New Jersey who are getting married do so at a slightly older age.
According to Tashman, older newlyweds — specifically those marrying for the first time — are much more committed to making their relationship work.
"They're not so quick to make it disposable," he said. "Whereas people who are in their 20s and 30s — if they get upset and angry, many of them say, 'I'll start over again. What's the big deal?'"
Tashman said the hustle and bustle of living in New Jersey, plus its location between busy New York and Philadelphia, could also be a factor in the state's solid divorce-rate performance. There are many distractions and outlets, such as work, that could relieve tension among folks who need a break from the spouse every once in a while.