Married Couples With Daughters Are More Likely To Divorce

Brilliance | Dec. 15, 2017

Rearing a real, live human being from a know-nothing little lump of adorable to a self-sufficient person is no small task. Interestingly enough, couples who do not have children are more likely to divorce. But of the couples who do have children, those with daughters are more likely to divorce.

Why It's Important

Having kids is no walk in the park—it's a hopscotch, dirty diaper, cut on the knee, needing a snack, throwing a tantrum, going too fast on the monkey bars, and losing a toy in the park. And that's just the fun part. When it comes to determining the strength of a relationship, there's probably no bigger test for a couple than having children. But as it turns out, that test is especially hard if you have girls.

According to a 2014 study published in the journal Demography, "marriages producing firstborn daughters are more likely to divorce than those producing firstborn sons." But don't go blaming little girls—it's not the daughters' fault. There are multiple factors at play here. Firstly, there's the idea that fathers prefer boys and are likely to be more heavily involved in bringing up a son. But the more interesting bit examined in the article looks at a disparity between male and female fetuses. The study states that "female survival advantage" (the widely accepted idea that females of all ages are more likely than males to make it to their next birthday) may begin even before birth. Basically, female embryos are just tougher, and can survive the environment of a stressed-out uterus. The idea here is that a male embryo wouldn't make it inside a woman stressed from an already difficult marriage.

Why People Are Talking About It

If you're an American in a heterosexual marriage, the likelihood that your relationship will end in divorce is about 50%. That's a pretty strong probability. Though there are plenty of factors that could play into divorce (children of divorce and homosexual couples of both sexes are more likely to divorce), it's important to know what may be working against you.

Hear Dr. Eli Finkel, relationship expert, explain how the best marriages work on the Curiosity Podcast. Stream or download the episode using the player below, or find it everywhere podcasts are found, including iTunes, Stitcher, SoundCloud, and Gretta.

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