Improving Economy Means More AZ Divorces

Worsening U.S. Divorce Rate Points to Improving Economy

Just this week, Bloomberg News reported the increase in Divorce coinciding with the improvements in the US economy.

After a 40 year low in 2009, divorces have steadily climbed each year since the recession ended. The same is true here in Arizona .

The number of Americans getting divorced rose for the third year in a row to about 2.4 million in 2012, after plunging in the 18-month recession ended June 2009, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. Whatever the social and emotional impact, the broad economic effects of the increase are clear: It is contributing to the formation of new households, boosting demand for housing, appliances and furnishings and spurring the economy. Divorces are also prompting more women to enter the labor force.

Construction Rebound

That has contributed to the rebound in home construction. Housing starts surged 67 percent to 923,400 in 2013 from 2009, according to Commerce Department data. Multifamily housing starts have almost tripled since the recession and accounted for 33 percent of residential construction in 2013, up from 20 percent in 2009.

Newly single men have been renting apartments in suburban markets as they seek to stay close to their children and attend school events, said Gregory Mutz, AMLI Residential Properties Trust chief executive officer. The Chicago-based company develops and acquires luxury apartments in the U.S.

The biggest changes here in Arizona have to do with housing. In 2009, we were fighting over who would take the upside down house. Unfortunately, we saw many couples unable to move on with their lives because even when the home was to be sold, it was sometimes still sitting on the market, two years later. This meant a couple continued to own and be responsible for a home together even years after divorce. Many fights were had over the color the home was painted or whether or not the ex-spouse was adequately trying to sell the house. With the improvement in the economy, we are now seeing couples selling homes and splitting the equity.

Unemployment Tie

Both marriages and dissolutions are tied to unemployment, University of Arizona’s Schaller found in a May 2012 paper. Each one percentage point increase in the jobless rate is associated with a 1.5 percent decrease in the marriage rate and 1.7 percent drop in the divorce rate, she calculated.

Unemployment slid to a five-year low of 6.6 percent in January from 10 percent in October 2009. Home prices increased 22 percent in third quarter of last year compared with the first quarter of 2012, partially recovering a 35 percent drop from 2006’s second quarter, according to the S&P Case-Shiller U.S. Home Price index.

In addition to the construction industry, the stregnthening economy means better jobs and more options. People in unhappy marriages are able to move on. Struggling businesses are now able to sustain the effects of divorce.