Last week, the Pew Research Center recently released its report on marriage in America. Based on data from the U.S. Census American Community Survey for 2008, it provides a wealth of data on marriage and divorce across the 50 states. Check out the map here. Catherine Rampell provides a nice summary over at Economix.
The thing that jumped out at me was the "Larry King" statistic - the number of people who have been married three or more times.
About one-in-twenty Americans who ever have been married said they had been married three or more times. That comes to 4 million men and 4.5 million women.
States varied a lot on this. Arkansas had the highest percentage of "serial marrieds," 10 percent. This was five times more than New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts with just two percent. The study found that multiple marriages were less likely in states with high concentrations of college-educated people, and more likely in states with lower incomes and smaller college-educated populations.
Over the weekend, I enlisted my number-crunching colleague Charlotta Mellander to look at what other factors might be related to such serial marriage. We looked at unemployment, the class composition of the workforce, immigration, gay population, religion, and levels of psychological well-being. Our analysis points to associations and not causal relationships. It shows that a relationship exists, but not that one causes the other.