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#1 Post by dmpadmin » Sun Apr 04, 2010 2:14 pm

THE WORLD THAT WE HAVE WROUGHT - Statistics by Lee Travis

From: "Gordin James" <>
Subject: Divorce statistics for 20th century

( the 20th century)
By Lee Travis, Ph.D..

The Sea Change

Divorce was rare before approximately 1920. Then, dissolution of the marriage contract underwent a gradual change, sometimes loosely called "the divorce revolution" in the 1970's and beyond.
How big a transformation was this in the society of The United States?
More precisely, what data do we have on the number of divorces in the 20th century?

Annual Number of Divorces and Annulments in the United States: 1920 – 2003

Year Number
2003 924,920
2002 975,164
2001 954,803
2000 1,100,000
1999 943,479
1998 932,772
1997 966,127
1996 1,150,000
1995 1,169,000
1994 1,191,000
1993 1,187,000
1992 1,215,000
1991 1,187,000
1990 1,182,000
1989 1,157,000
1988 1,167,000
1987 1,166,000
1986 1,178,000
1985 1,190,000
1984 1,169,000
1983 1,158,000
1982 1,170,000
1981 1,213,000
1980 1,189,000
1979 1,181,000
1978 1,130,000
1977 1,091,000
1976 1,083,000
1975 1,036,000
1974 977,000
1973 915,000
1972 845,000
1971 773,000
1970 708,000
1969 639,000
1968 584,000
1967 523,000
1966 499,000
1965 479,000
1964 450,000
1963 428,000
1962 413,000
1961 414,000
1960 393,000
1959 395,000
1958 368,000
1957 381,000
1956 382,000
1955 377,000
1954 379,000
1953 390,000
1952 392,000
1951 381,000
1950 385,000
1949 397,000
1948 408,000
1947 483,000
1946 610,000
1945 485,000
1944 400,000
1943 359,000
1942 321,000
1941 293,000
1940 264,000
1939 251,000
1938 244,000
1937 249,000
1936 236,000
1935 218,000
1934 204,000
1933 165,000
1932 164,241
1931 188,003
1930 195,961
1929 205,876
1928 200,176
1927 196,292
1926 184,678
1925 175,449
1924 170,952
1923 165,096
1922 148,815
1921 159,580
1920 170,506
National Center for Health Statistics
DADS DIVORCE: A Forum for Fathers Facing Divorce
Prepared by Library Development and Data Services, Library of Michigan

Thus, between approximately 1920 and 2003 (what is here being defined as "Twentieth Century" because there were no known statistics kept before 1920), there have been a total of approximately 53,310,134 divorces/annulments in The United States involving approximately 106, 720, 268 people (give the fact that a divorce/annulment at minimum involves two people).
If we conservatively add one judge and only one court worker (or only one secretary, one Friend of the court, one courtroom guard), the number becomes 213, 440, 052 people involved in 20th century divorce/annulments in the United States.
And this figure does NOT include: (1) children; (2) grandparents; (3) in-laws; (4) friends.(5) law-enforcement personal (6) social workers, psychologists, medical doctors and psychiatrists (and other "experts").
As of 9/17/04) there are some 294, 295, 703 people in the United States, or approximately 57, 855,541 more people than the total number of people touched by divorces in the 20th century (total 9/17/04 population minus total number of divorces, above). If we included children, parents, in-laws, and friends, etc., in the total number of people involved in 20th century divorce/annulments, the number would probably easily exceed the total number of people alive in the United States on or about 9/17/04.

This is not a "divorce epidemic" (as some have called it). It is a divorce plague that has negatively affected the lives of MILLIONS of people (compare The Black Plague, 1347-1350, which killed some 25 million people or approximately one-third of Europe's population in approximately thirteen years [source: Aaron Price, David O. McKay School of Education, Brigham Young University]).


Approximate Costs

Because costs of any divorce can vary from the minimum costs of filing and court costs in a non-contested "no-fault" divorce -- after
1981 in California and 1982 in Michigan and eventually all other states, that is -- to literally thousands or tens of thousands of dollars in contested custody/property cases, and because there are no known records kept specifically for divorce costs, we must estimate.

If we estimated the cost of divorce at $1.00 per divorce in the 20th century the total cost would be $213, 440, 052. Of course, this estimate is absurdly low, as would be an estimate of an average $10, $100, or even $1,000 per divorce (a total cost of $213, 440, 052,000 as per the above criteria).

There may also be divorce costs involving the additional services of all the following professionals in the divorce industry:
 two (or more) psychologists
 two (or more) accountants
 two (or more) Friend of the Court workers  at least four (or more) witnesses  two (or more) law enforcement officers (as witnesses, or at the court house)  two (or more) employers of the parties  two (or more) school teachers  two (or more) private detectives (particularly before "no fault"
divorce came into being)
 Work time lost because of parties leaving work for court

Understandably, the costs of the services of these various players cannot be either known, or, for that matter, estimated – other than to say that these costs should be added to the $213 BILLION DOLLAR estimate (above).

This estimate, it should be noted, does NOT include mental and physical suffering, the costs of tranquilizers and sleeping pills, and deaths from suicide, alcoholism, and drug overdoses related to the sometimes overwhelming stresses of divorce.

The Facilitators

Approximately 90% of custody awards in the 20th century were decided by attorneys and judges then and presently for the most part untrained in domestic law and developmental psychology. These awards went predominantly to mothers (who, before c.
1920, had little managerial training and/or experience because they were prevented from so learning by law). Here are some of the results of this reparable governmental ineffectiveness. .

From the July 2003 Idaho Observer:

The future: Set adrift on a sea of fatherless children

Children from fatherless homes account for:
 63% of youth suicides. (Source: US Dept. of Health & Human Services, Bureau of the Census).
 71% of pregnant teenagers. (Source: US Dept. of Health & Human
 90% of all homeless and runaway children.
 70% of juveniles in state-operated institutions come from fatherless homes (Source: U.S. Dept. of Justice, Special Report, Sept 1988)  85% of all children that exhibit behavioral disorders. (Source:
Center for Disease Control).
 80% of rapists motivated with displaced anger. (Source: Criminal Justice & Behavior, Vol. 14, p. 403-26, 1978).
 71% of all high school dropouts. (Source: National Principals Association Report on the State of High Schools).
 75% of all adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers. (Source:
Rainbows for all God's Children).
 85% of all youths sitting in prisons. (Source: Fulton Co. Georgia jail populations, Texas Dept. of Corrections 1992).

The State of Fatherhood
 37.9% of fathers have no access/visitation rights. (Source: p.6, col.II, para. 6, lines 4 & 5, Census Bureau P-60, #173, Sept 1991.)  "40% of mothers reported that they had interfered with the non-custodial father's visitation on at least one occasion, to punish the ex-spouse." (Source: p. 449, col. II, lines 3-6, (citing Fulton) Frequency of visitation by Divorced Fathers; Differences in Reports by Fathers and Mothers. Sanford Braver et al, Am. J. of Orthopsychiatry,
 "Overall, approximately 50% of mothers "see no value in the father`s continued contact with his children...." (Source: Surviving the Breakup, Joan Kelly & Judith Wallerstein, p. 125)  Only 11% of mothers value their husband's input when it comes to handling problems with their kids. Teachers & doctors rated 45%, and close friends & relatives rated 16%.(Source: EDK Associates survey of 500 women for Redbook Magazine. Redbook, November, 1994, p. 36)  "The former spouse (mother) was the greatest obstacle to having more frequent contact with the children." (Source: Increasing our understanding of fathers who have infrequent contact with their children, James Dudley, Family Relations, Vol. 4, p. 281, July 1991.)  "A clear majority (70%) of fathers felt that they had too little time with their children." (Source: Visitation and the Noncustodial Father, Mary Ann Kock & Carol Lowery, Journal of Divorce, Vol. 8, No.
2, p. 54, Winter 1984.)
 "Very few of the children were satisfied with the amount of contact with their fathers, after divorce." (Source: Visitation and the Noncustodial Father, Koch & Lowery, Journal of Divorce and Remarriage, Vol. 8, No. 2, p. 50, Winter 1984.)  "Feelings of anger towards their former spouses hindered effective involvement on the part of fathers; angry mothers would sometimes sabotage father's efforts to visit their children." (Source: Ahrons and Miller, Am. Journal of Orthopsychiatry, Vol. 63. p. 442, July '93.)  "Mothers may prevent visits to retaliate against fathers for problems in their marital or post-marital relationship." (Source:
Seltzer, Shaeffer & Charing, Journal of Marriage & the Family, Vol.
51, p. 1015, November 1989.)
 In a study: "Visitational Interference - A National Study" by Ms. J Annette Vanini, M.S.W. and Edward Nichols, M.S.W., it was found that 77% of non-custodial fathers are NOT able to "visit" their children, as ordered by the court, as a result of "visitation interference"
perpetuated by the custodial parent. In other words, non-compliance with court ordered visitation is three times the problem of non-compliance with court ordered child support and impacts the children of divorce even more. Originally published Sept. 1992

Child Support
 Information from multiple sources show that only 10% of all noncustodial fathers fit the "deadbeat dad" category: 90% of the fathers with joint custody paid the support due. Fathers with visitation rights pay 79.1%; and 44.5% of those with NO visitation rights still financially support their children. (Source: Census Bureau report. Series P-23, No. 173).
 The following is sourced from: Technical Analysis Paper No. 42, U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Income Security Policy, Oct. 1991, Authors: Meyer and Garansky.
 Custodial mothers who receive a support award: 79.6%  Custodial fathers who receive a support award: 29.9%  Non-custodial mothers who totally default on support: 46.9%  Non-custodial fathers who totally default on support: 26.9%


Gantlet: A Love Story

What is the divorce experience like for the children of divorce?

Brandon Adams, whose parentage and birth the reader witnesses in
Gantlet: A Love Story, by Lee Travis, is a child of divorce. His slow destruction in the American court system, as well as his father's desperate, but almost fruitless, attempts to save Brandon, are the central theme of this new novel.
Gantlet is on the "recommended reading list" at the Department of Social; Work, Eastern Michigan University, and has received "five star" reviews on where men, women, psychologists, lawyers, waitresses, grandparents, professors, businessmen, fathers and mothers all recommend the novel to anyone approaching or going through the divorce process with children.
Gantlet should be mandatory reading in all law schools awarding the JD degree, and in all universities awarding the Ph.D. degree in clinical and developmental psychology, as well as in all courses regarding the family, developmental psychology, and marriage/relationships.
The novel can be purchased ($24.95) at,, and at Little Professor and Barnes and Nobel book stores.
(Leigh ["Lee"] Travis, Ph.d., is a university professor, the owner/operator of Child Custody Strategies, Inc., a member of the state bar of Michigan, is Certified in Collaborative Law, and holds a double-major Ph.d. and multiple awards for academic excellence. He is one of the founders of Fathers for Equal Rights in Michigan, has been on The Board of Directors of The National Congress for Fathers and Children for 16 years, and has published articles throughout the country and internationally on fatherhood and related psychological/sociological issues. He is the father of a son and grandfather to six grandchildren "to whom," Travis says, "my work is dedicated."
Leigh ("Lee") Travis, Ph.d.
1325 Kuehnle
Ann Arbor, MI 48103
(734) 761-3427

( the 20th century)

By Lee Travis, Ph.D..
1325 Kuehnle
Ann Arbor, MI 48103
(734) 761-3427

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