Growing More Equal and Growing Apart? Socioeconomic Status and the Rise of Divorce in Sweden

Forskningsoutput: Working paper


A negative association between socioeconomic status (SES) and divorce has been established
for most Western nations after 1960, yet we know little about this relationship further back in
time when divorce was rare. In low divorce contexts, we expect a positive association
between SES and divorce because higher social strata are better equipped to overcome
barriers to divorce. According to socioeconomic growth theory, this relationship reverses with
industrialization and modernization since the economic and normative barriers to divorce
diminish for many. We investigate SES and other micro-level determinants of divorce among
men and women in Sweden, 1880-1960, making use of longitudinal data from parish registers
covering Västerbotten County. Results confirm a positive association between SES and
divorce, which shifted to a negative association among couples who divorced from the mid
1930s onwards. This reversal resulted in an increase in the divorce rate as it extended to
broader layers of the population.


Enheter & grupper
Externa organisationer
  • Umeå University

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Ekonomisk historia


Antal sidor46
StatusPublished - 2020


NamnLund Papers in Economic History (LPED)