Are Daughters To Blame For Divorce?


Divorce attorneys in Pasadena stumble upon all sorts of studies and statistics, each claiming they have the secrets to why couples split up. Seemingly every week, a new batch of research hopes to provide some insight into the ending of marriages. This latest round of information making the rounds online puts the blame on daughters and, more specifically, why women with daughters leave.

The numbers, first uncovered by Gordon Dahl at the University of Rochester and Enrico Moretti at UCLA, are pretty surprising. Couples with a daughter are 5 percent more likely to divorce than couples with a boy. The odds of divorce are increased with each additional daughter. Couples expecting a son are more likely to wed than those expecting a girl. These startling numbers, which have been floating around since 2003, long have been a catalyst for discussions on why men stick around for sons and not for daughters.

A new article in Psychology Today, however, wonders if we haven't been having the wrong conversation. According to the numbers, in 73 percent of divorces the wife is the one who leaves. Folks like Anita E. Kelly, a psychology professor at the University of Notre Dame, are wondering why mothers of daughters divorce more than mothers of sons. Kelly has a few theories. She notes that sons increase the daily workload as girls decrease the workload and daughters in general are more emotionally supportive than sons.

"When we add up these facts, a conclusion we might draw is that wives with daughters are less likely to stay with their husbands because they know that with a girl, they'll never be lonely or without help," she says. She also points to the statistic of couples carrying a girl are less likely to be married, which could indicate that the woman is anticipating that she won't need a husband.

From what we've seen regularly from those seeking divorce advice in Pasadena, it is hard to generalize the individual experiences and feelings of couples involved in a divorce. Still, regardless of how speculative the statistics are, they certainly are enlightening.