Skip to content

"Massachusetts has the lowest divorce rate in the country at 2.4 divorces per 1,000 inhabitants. Texas has a divorce rate of 4.1."

That observation was made by Andrew Sullivan, the rabidly gay-is-great ex-Catholic, but otherwise splendid writer. He goes on to observe that, like Texas, all the red states have higher "divorce rates" than blue states.

His statistic strikes me as a rather odd way to measure divorce rates. Number of divorces per 1,000 people? What if the 1,000 people in red states aren't of marriageable age? What if a high percentage of people among those 1,000 in blue states prefer "shacking up" to marriage? In other words: What if the total number of people marrying in the red states greatly exceeds the total percentage of people marrying in the blue states? Such a situation would, obviously, make Mr. Sullivan's statistic worthless.

I don't know if this is the case, incidentally. Sullivan's article is silent on the possibility. Though he offers possible explanations (those rednecks marry a lot younger, and hence the marriages are often poor to begin with), he ignores this obvious one. My research hasn't revealed the answer yet, and Mr. Sullivan hasn't yet responded to my e-mail, asking about the source of his stat and whether a different statistic--percentage of divorces among first time marriages--would have been better.

If Mr. Sullivan's statistic is, indeed, worthless, it wouldn't be the first time I caught him in a disingenuous argument. See my article, The Gay Battleground, at Catholic Exchange.

The Wednesday Eudemon starts this coming Wednesday.