A little-noticed trend is spreading in many of the world’s emerging economies: More and more people are getting divorced.
Outside of North America, Europe, and Oceania, two-thirds of the countries for which the United Nations has data saw rising divorce rates from 2007 to 2011.According to the UN:
- Mexico: the divorce rate has steadily climbed since the late 1970s.
- Brazil, divorce was against the law 30 years ago, the divorce rate is now about 1.4 per thousand people.
- China, Thailand, Iran, and South Korea, have seen more than a roughly fivefold increase in divorces over the past few decades.
The rise of divorce internationally is both an indicator of and force behind social changes that have improved prospects for women, reduced gender inequality, and fueled development. All of which suggests that the more people are able to get out of bad marriages, the better off their societies are likely to be.So, the more common divorce becomes in a society, the less of a stigma it’s likely to be. Conversely, divorce causes greater unhappiness in societies where it’s rare. The period before a divorce people report low life satisfaction, but the period after it is comparatively satisfactory, especially for women. In the developing world, increased divorce rates have mirrored improvement in measures of gender equality. In Brazil, the Rede Globo channel broadcasts a slate of soap operas that feature powerful female leads who work, make investment decisions, and commit infidelities as frequently as their male counterparts. During the 1970s and ’80s, as Rede Globo’s reach expanded across the country, the divorce rate went up while fertility rates went down, according to researchers from the Inter-American Development Bank.