In Mexico, more marriages ending in divorce, and sooner

May 18, 2012
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(This article was first published on Revolutions, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

R user Diego Valle analyzed the rate of divorces in Mexican marriage since 1993 (the earliest date for which data are available) and found that not only have more marriages ended in divorce over time, but marriages that do end are ending sooner:

Mexico-divorces-by-length

This chart is a bit complicated, but it bears close inspection. Each line you see is a cohort of all of the marriages in a given year: 1993, 1994, all the way up to 2009. The vertical height of each line is proportional to the total number of divorces in each subsequent year within each cohort (expressed as a fraction of all marriages in the cohort year). Cleverly, the cohort lines are all arranged not by calendar time, but by years since marriage: the leftmost point represents divorces in the first year (relatively few), then divorces in the second year, and so on. 

More residents of Mexico married in 1993 saw their 10th wedding anniversary than those married in 1998. Overall, the trend is clear: more weddings that take place now will end than those from previous years, and they're likely to end sooner as well. Although there's not much historical data for recent marriage, the steady progression of divorce rates over time allows Diego to create a forecast (using a linear mixed-effects model in the R language) of the outcomes of recent marriages. He predicts, for example, that 11% of marriages registered in 2007 will have ended in divorce by 2022. By contrast though, that's about the same rate as US marriages from the fifties.

If you want to do a similar analysis, Diego provides R code in his post linked below, and at his github.

Diego Valle-Jones: Proportion of marriages ending in divorce

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