- What if one of the most significant pieces of social data of our time was flatly wrong, the result of a glaring arithmetic error?
2. In 1985, a book was published that immediately had a profound effect on how the general public viewed the economic impact that divorce had on women versus men, a book that in the end, came to be recognized as having been based on flawed analyses, even according to its own author. Based on her comprehensive ten-year California study, the book, The Divorce Revolution: The Unexpected Social and Economic Consequences for Women and Children in America, by Harvard sociologist Lenore Weitzman, Ph.D., proclaimed that after a divorce women and children suffer on average a 73 percent drop in their standard of living. Fathers on the other hand, were actually found to benefit economically from the termination of their marriage, since whatever income they retained went to support only themselves. According to Weitzman, the average divorced man’s standard of living increases by 42 percent. Weitzman’s famous graph showing this disparity is reproduced in Chart 4.1.
3. If ever anyone needed any evidence to fuel their outrage against divorced fathers, to contribute to their bad divorced dad beliefs, or to inform them what is
wrong with the divorce system and why so many men are moved to abandon their families, this was what they were waiting for Social scientists, divorce professionals, some feminist writers, policymakers, and the media jumped on this news with all the zeal of a dog with a fresh bone.
4. On the basis of Weitzman s figures we expected to see fathers reaping a financial windfall from their divorces or at the very least living a rather comfortable existence We hardly expected them to be complaining as much as mothers were about their financial condition, as we began to talk to fathers for our own study a vastly different picture began to emerge These fathers were hardly describing a life of economic opportunity Like many other fathers we talked to Tom a father of two young boys lamented his reduced lifestyle after the dissolution of his marriage…
Read the whole study here: