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Blue/Red states and ''family values''

by Josh K / November 5, 2004 4:57 AM PST

Since polls of Bush voters indicated that "values" and "morals" were big factors in their voting decisions, I thought this was interesting:

Walking the walk on family values

PRESIDENT Bush and Vice President Cheney make reference to "Massachusetts liberals" as if they were referring to people with some kind of disease. I decided it was time to do some research on these people, and here is what I found.

The state with the lowest divorce rate in the nation is Massachusetts. At latest count it had a divorce rate of 2.4 per 1,000 population, while the rate for Texas was 4.1.

But don't take the US government's word for it. Take a look at the findings from the George Barna Research Group. George Barna, a born-again Christian whose company is in Ventura, Calif., found that Massachusetts does indeed have the lowest divorce rate among all 50 states. More disturbing was the finding that born-again Christians have among the highest divorce rates.

The Associated Press, using data supplied by the US Census Bureau, found that the highest divorce rates are to be found in the Bible Belt. The AP report stated that "the divorce rates in these conservative states are roughly 50 percent above the national average of 4.2 per thousand people." The 10 Southern states with some of the highest divorce rates were Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas. By comparison nine states in the Northeast were among those with the lowest divorce rates: Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

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Real Americans, apparently,
by Dan McC / November 5, 2004 5:05 AM PST

have more babies as teens and get divorced alot more.

Dan

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Re: Blue/Red states and ''family values''
by MKay / November 5, 2004 5:15 AM PST

I saw an exit poll interview and the lady said her biggest concern was morals so she voted for GWB. Then she walked a few steops grabbed a little girl by the hand who was dressed like a miniature Brittany Spears !!! Happy

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I wonder if income may play a part in that
by Cindi Haynes / November 5, 2004 5:19 AM PST

Hi Josh,

I think there's more money (family wealth) in those northeastern states, at least perceived. Lots of couples argue and divorce over money...especially lack of it, which makes sense in poorer areas of the country. I'm wondering if the ones staying married are doing so for the sake of dollars rather than family values. After all, I'd not make a decision to divorce Teresa unless I had a richer one lined up. KIDDING! But you get my point?

--Cindi
Speakeasy Moderator
click here to email the mods

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Re: Blue/Red states and ''family values''
by Paul C / November 5, 2004 5:21 AM PST
By comparison nine states in the Northeast were among those with the lowest divorce rates: Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

Can't find proof, but as a former Roman Catholic born and raised in the Northeast, I'd be willing to bet that the percentage of Catholics (whose church tenets forbid divorce - remember Herry VIII?) is far higher in the Northeast than in any other part of the nation - a reality that would certainly skew any such comparison, as would the fact that the Northeast is losing population, and the South and West gaining population...
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Found it, Josh!
by Paul C / November 5, 2004 5:32 AM PST
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There are also a few other factors at work:
by Kiddpeat / November 5, 2004 6:10 AM PST
In reply to: Found it, Josh!

1. Massachussetts has a high student population most of whom are not married.

2. Liberals may just skip marriage. It's just a piece of paper, right? Hence, they have less divorce.

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Then it may be that
by Steven Haninger / November 5, 2004 5:24 AM PST

the hollywood and entertainment industry is heavily populated by "born again" christians. Who'd a thunk it! Devil

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Can't be...
by Pat S / November 5, 2004 5:35 AM PST
In reply to: Then it may be that

They're all into Scientology and Kabala.

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A sad commentary all the way around ...
by Bill Osler / November 5, 2004 8:39 AM PST

I do not know enough about the raw data to comment on what factors might enter into the finding, but I did note that the "Barna Group" web site included the following which is relevant:

Barna noted that one reason why the divorce statistic among non-Born again adults is not higher is that a larger proportion of that group cohabits, effectively side-stepping marriage ? and divorce ? altogether. However, Barna also noted that correcting for that may not influence the figures much.

Also, although the article you cited stated that More disturbing was the finding that born-again Christians have among the highest divorce rates, the Barna web site actually stated that born again Christians have the same likelihood of divorce as do non-Christians.

I do not know why faith does not do a better job of influencing marriage outcomes. There are multiple confounders involved in a state-to-state comparison (national & ethnic background vary by state, proportion of Roman Catholics varies by state, marriage rate for couples in long term relationships varies by state, age at marriage varies by state, marriage rate for unwed couples expecting a child may vary by state, ...) so I would not try to make too much of the data. What is more important is the fact that the institution of marriage appears to be breaking down in many different demographic groups.

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Re: A sad commentary all the way around ...
by Dan McC / November 7, 2004 10:46 PM PST

The Barna Group is not an impartial analyst of this data. And it seems they are looking at the numbers differently than the view used in the article at the top of this thread. Initially, the statements were regarding divorces in a given population. The Barna link refers to divorced adults in the population. The difference is subtle, but discounts the factor of people with multiple divorces.

Dan

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Fair enough Josh. Now...
by Edward ODaniel / November 8, 2004 12:29 AM PST

look at it in proper perspective ala election map.

In addition to state look at divorce rate of blue counties of each state in relation to red counties and each state as a whole. (view it here http://www.exacttarget.com/members/images/3978004603253.gif )

Look also at the proportion of unwed mothers in the densely packed urban areas as opposed to the less packed rural areas (unmarried mothers tend to bypass divorce while exemplifying a moral turpitude involving both mother and father).

Look at the proportion of "gays" in urban as opposed to rural counties on the same map and again you will discover the disproportionate amount in the urban settings.

Homicides and serial killers--again disproportionately centralized in blue areas.

Want to generalize on divorce, murder, homosexual, etc. in California as opposed to say Utah?

This suggestion of another way to view what you found is in addition to specific regional religion dominated views on divorce (between Catholic centers and Protestant centers) as is pointed out elsewhere.

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