Catholic Culture News
Catholic Culture News

A divorce-prevention measure that lasts (at least) two generations!

By Phil Lawler ( bio - articles - email ) | Aug 14, 2013

Sociologists from Ohio State University have found that children from large families have markedly lower divorce rates.

The equation that emerged after a 40-year study, involving a sample of 57,000 American adults, was simple: The more siblings you had as a child, the less likely you were to be divorced as an adult. The researchers don’t offer an explanation for this phenomenon—in fact they seem to be stumped—but they know it’s not because the children from large families don’t marry. On the contrary, they’re more likely to marry, and more likely to stay married, than their small-family counterparts.

We already know that among married couples who don’t use contraceptives, the rate of divorce approaches zero. Obviously these couples are more likely to have multiple children. So by eschewing contraceptives, a married couple is taking a huge step to guard against divorce—not only for themselves, but for their children as well.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: feedback - Jan. 04, 2018 12:25 PM ET USA

    This is quite interesting detail. Thanks for sharing.

  • Posted by: brenda22890 - Jan. 04, 2018 6:27 AM ET USA

    Phil, you have taken criticism for your observation, but I, for one, appreciate that someone has the courage to defy the "catechism of nice". I pray for Pope Francis every day. That does not mean that I think his position excludes him from error - some of them, very serious.

  • Posted by: cieslajohn7542 - Dec. 30, 2017 10:09 AM ET USA

    I did not say the numbers themselves were speculative, only the rationale for the lower numbers. My friend, I am not oblivious to the point you're trying to make. Pope Francis is no JPII or Benedict. But he is the Pope, and I believe he is trying to do the best job he can. I wish you and your family a happy and blessed 2018!

  • Posted by: DrJazz - Dec. 29, 2017 7:38 PM ET USA

    That the numbers are low is not speculative: "...there weren’t enough students who expressed interest this year." There may be another reason for those low numbers, but the fact is that Pope Francis has discouraged a large number of faithful Catholics, including many that I know. If you haven't been run off , that's wonderful. Now, try asking a few dozen other serious Catholics what they think.

  • Posted by: cieslajohn7542 - Dec. 28, 2017 9:14 AM ET USA

    Yes, I understood the point. But the conclusion you make, and the one Phil implies, may or may not be accurate. It's pure speculation, and unnecessary. It is unwarranted ANY time of the liturgical year. BTW: I'm an orthodox Catholic, Graduate of CDU, and a faithful RCIA/Adult Catechist. And Francis hasn't "run me off..."

  • Posted by: DrJazz - Dec. 27, 2017 2:19 PM ET USA

    There is clearly a point to the post: That Francis has run off those most likely to want to serve and assist the Pope, orthodox Catholics. Why that point should only be expressed at certain times of the liturgical year, I have no idea.

  • Posted by: cieslajohn7542 - Dec. 27, 2017 9:54 AM ET USA

    Phil - this is a rather pointless and uncharitable posting. We know you don't really care for Pope Francis...but enough. It's Christmastime.

  • Posted by: Frodo1945 - Aug. 20, 2013 10:19 AM ET USA

    Thank heaven for the Ohio State sociologists for proving the obvious. A perfect example of ivory tower occupants who think they need to scientifically prove what a serious Christian already knows. Citizens of Ohio, keep paying your taxes.

  • Posted by: WBSM - Aug. 17, 2013 5:48 AM ET USA

    Marvellous! So, (all you who read this) have at least one more child if you are married and can take that responsibility and God gives you one! Do a favour to your other children.