"Marriages and families within faith communities are no healthier than in the rest of society"

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MShep2's picture

What a crock:

Southern men and women had higher rates of divorce in 2009 than their counterparts in other parts of the country: 10.2 per 1,000 for men and 11.1 per 1,000 for women, according to a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau released Thursday.
By comparison, men and women in the Northeast had the lowest rates of divorce, 7.2 and 7.5 per 1,000, which is also lower than the national divorce rate of 9.2 for men and 9.7 for women.
While any increase in the divorce rate is not good, what they are talking about is 3 or 4 more divorces per 1000 or a 0.3% difference.

Obviously this CNN writer has an agenda.

  1. By calling the divorces "Bible Belt Divorces," we are supposed to conclude that it is "Christians" who are getting divorces. Thus, Christians are a bunch of hypocrites.
  2. The "Bible Belters" from the "South" are obviously a bunch of hicks who don't know better than to feel pressured into marriage at a younger age. However the erudite "north-easterners" are intelligent enough to wait and thus choose better.
  3. The antiquated morality of the "Southerners" causes them to marry early so they can have sex. The "north-easterners" have sex with whomever they want and then live together first to try out the relationship, so they make much better decisions.
    The 0.3% difference is not statistically significant and is not worth an article much less the sweeping generalizations made by the author.

Luke 17:10

Charlie's picture


I agree that several of the assertions in the article are not supported by the cited data. However, you are misreading the statistics.

When you calculate the percent difference between two comparable statistics, you compare them directly to each other, not to the total.

For example, if 1 out of 10 people with disease X die within a year of contraction, and 2 out of 10 people with disease Y die within a year of contraction, then disease Y is 100% more deadly. (2/10 is double 1/10.)

So, back to understanding the divorce statistics. If a line in the "men" column says 10.0, that means that, for every 1,000 men over the age of 15 who were living in 2009, 10 of them got divorced in that year.

Now, let's compare the numbers for the Northeast/South regions: % change = {(num 2 - num 1) / num 1} x 100%

Men married Northeast/South: 16.0 / 20.3 = South 26.875% higher

Men divorced Northeast/South: 7.2 / 10.2 = South 41.667% higher

Women married NE/South: 14.4 / 18.6 = South 29.167% higher

Women divorced NE/South: 7.5 / 11.1 = South 48% higher

So, in conclusion, there is a significant difference in the divorce rates, even when the higher marriage rate is noted. Economic and/or cultural factors likely play a role. There is one caveat, however. We would need some assurance that these stats are not anomalous, that the 2009 numbers are in general keeping with statistics from other years.

My Blog: http://dearreaderblog.com

Cor meum tibi offero Domine prompte et sincere. ~ John Calvin

MShep2's picture

I agree that you can compare these statistics this way, and saying "30% higher" is mathematically correct. However, one must also look at actual numbers before you can determine how significant the data are. For example, if the data say that there is a 100% rise in the murder rate it is of great significance if you are referring to 100 murders this year and 200 next year out of a population of 1,000. However if you had 1 murder this year and 2 next year (out of 1,000) it still is a 100% rise, but not as significant.

Luke 17:10