The author points out that, like pretty much everything else in the conventional-wisdom canon, the 50 percent divorce rate is a myth:
It has to do with how you look at the statistic. If the variables were constant, then a simple equation might work to come up with the divorce rate. But a lot of things are changing. And it is true that there are groups of people who have a 50 percent divorce rate: college dropouts who marry under the age of 25, for example. Couples married in the 1970s have a 30-year divorce rate of about 47 percent. A person who got married in the 1970s had a completely different upbringing and experience in life from someone who got married in the 1990s. It’s been very clear that divorce rates peaked in the 1970s and has been going down ever since.
[…] There’s the built-in incentive to identify crises. If you’re a researcher you can study them; if you’re an advocacy group you can get funding and support.
That last bit is really the heart of the problem. We see this in human rights circles all the time, researchers and advocates inflating their numbers to make it seem like ‘their’ issue is the real ticking time bomb in Africa or wherever.