Are Latinos and Hispanics better at marriage than the general population?
Latinas don’t divorce their husbands as much as African American and European American women do. Does this mean Latinas are better at being wives? Or are they less likely to end bad marriages than their sister counterparts in other ethnic and racial groups?
There are many studies on these questions and it appears that when it comes to divorce, it is only the first generation Latinos who are less prone to pulling the plug on their marriage. That is, once Latinos have integrated into the society – by the second and third generations for example – their rate of divorce are about the same as other groups. Well, post integration into American society, the divorce rate for Latinos is on par with European Americans and is less steep than the divorce rate for African Americans, to be more precise.
Researchers find this to be a paradox because they have equated marital stability with income and social class. The richer you are, in other words, the more likely your marriage will be stable and the less likely you will wind up divorced. Because African American household incomes are on average one of the lowest in the country, it does not surprise researchers that their rate of divorce is as high as it is as compared to other groups. By contrast, divorce rates for European Americans are lower than those of African Americans because they are in a higher social strata and typically have a higher household income, and this also makes perfect sense to researchers.
Where the paradox comes into play with Hispanics and latinos – in particular the first generation ones – is that despite a comparatively low household income when compared to the two other racial/ethnic groups, namely African Americana and European Americans, Hispanics tend to have a very low divorce rate.
That is, though first generation Hispanics and Latinos are measurably poorer than African Americans and European Americans – and their social class is typically at the bottom to boot – they are still able to sustain long and durable marriages and avoid divorce court well over a decade after their wedding date.
Why is this? Nobody understand this paradox except to explain it as a cultural thing. Hispanics tend to have a stronger sense of “family” when they first arrive in the United States and so they will work harder to protect and defend their marriage and family and divorce is usually not an option. Further, it could also have something to do with mindset and mentally of the couple. Latinas tend to marry younger than other racial and ethnic groups and there is a notion that marriage is “forever” that permeates the Latina psyche – hence the reason she stays married longer and may seem like she has a handle on wifedom that her European and African American counterparts do not possess. Many attribute that to the heavy Roman Catholic worldview that is pervasive in many Latin American countries. And everybody knows that the Catholic church frowns on divorce.
Whatever the reason, it appears, at least for now, that when it comes to divorce, first generation Latinos are better at hanging on to the marriage for a longer time, than African American or European American women are, and so latina divorce is quite rare in this demographic. But once integration takes place (calling Jennifer Lopez!) the Latina woman can be just as divorce prone as the next woman is.
The Latino Marriage Paradox by Nicolas H Wolfinger and W. Bradford Wilcox https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2016/05/the-latino-marriage-paradox