Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Divorce and Remarriage

Pew, a company that does many surveys, came out with this interactive map of proportions of married, divorced, and 3+x remarried men and women by state. Here is what is remarkable about the rates:

Conservative parts of the country have higher proportions of divorced and multiply remarried residents. The "Red" states that often refer to themselves as the "Real America" and bastions of "family values", homes of the "moral majority", are quite divorce-happy compared to the more liberal states.

Top 5 states for 3+ marriages:
Arkansas (10% men, 10% women)
Oklahoma (9% men, 10% women)
Tennessee (9% men, 8% women)
Alabama (8% men, 8% women)
Mississippi (8% men, 8% women)

Bottom 5 states for 3+ marriages:
Massachusetts (2% men, 2% women)
New Jersey (2% men, 2% women)
New York (2% men, 2% women)
Connecticut (3% men, 2% women)
Minnesota (3% men, 3% women)

Top 5 states for currently divorced residents:
Nevada (13% men, 16% women)
Maine (12% men, 15% women)
Montana (12% men, 13% women)
Wyoming (12% men, 13% women)
Oklahoma (12% men, 14% women)

Bottom 5 states for currently divorced residents:
New Jersey (7% men, 10% women)
New York (7% men, 10% women)
Massachusetts (8% men, 10% women)
California (8% men, 11% women)
Virginia (8% men, 11% women)

The consistently higher proportions of currently divorced women compared to men is probably due in large part to child custody inhibiting remarriage. Women are overwhelmingly granted custody in divorce courts. Divorcees with children in the home have more trouble finding new spouses, and may also be less inclined to try to find a new spouse as the process can cause problems for the children.

As I have written about more extensively in another blog, there is a clear relationship between conservativism and bad decision making that I understand to have a neurological foundation. People who grow up with fear in a strict and belief-based environment develop brains that desire very simple and concrete information (e.g.:America is good. Homosexuality is bad. Muslims are bad.). They are overwhelmed by ambiguity and complexity, and depend on whatever very simple dogma they've been indoctrinated with, or their immediate emotional reactions to make decisions.

This emotional impulsivity, combined with a characteristic avoidance of contemplating the many possible ramifications of actions because that would be too overwhelming and complicated, leads to the following phenomena that we see happening at much higher rates in conservative states than in liberal states (check out GapMinder):

Teen pregnancy
Infant mortality
Divorce (related to young marriage, also in the Pew map)
Poor education
Higher drug use
Earlier death

I am sure the list can go on and on. These things all are rooted in impulsive behavior that focuses on emotions and immediate gratification without consideration for consequences and the long term. Conservatives are very hostile towards liberal ideas and values, but the outcomes are clear. The outcomes show us what attitudes and behaviors are best for our country. We need to stop the lies and hypocrisy, and focus on implementing best practices to bring about the good and sustainable outcomes we want for our descendants.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Call for Contributions

Over the course of my life, I have encountered many news articles and clips that misrepresent or confuse information, and advertisements that mislead and manipulate. I started this blog to explain how information has been misused, and provide explanations of the real meanings of the information. However, I have also improved my life by avoiding the more heinous offenders (e.g.: Fox News, commercials, conservatives, etc...), so I rarely come across examples to write about. I have no television, and I limit my internet consumption. I get most of my news from Jon Stewart, since it is easier to handle with some humor. Though I enjoy picking apart incorrect information use and providing accurate interpretations, I will not spend much time looking around for the junk.

If you find an article or video clip that uses statistics to make some claims, and you'd like me to examine it, feel free to send it to me. You can also write your own post and I'll put it up here, totally credited to you.