Love and marriage … and big data

Anyone who’s experienced divorce knows the tragic consequences. It’s hard on the adults, the kids, and anyone else connected to it.

In an age where common ground is hard to find, there’s been widespread agreement in academic and political circles about the importance of family stability in the lives of children and communities across the country. Yet there’s also been a real sense of fatalism about our ability to do anything about it. Changing something as important as divorce rates has seemed about as possible as changing the weather to many experts and social scientists.

Then one man on a mission–along with a team of marriage experts and philanthropists–took a run at the problem, deploying diagnostics and old–school social capital to drive some stunning results in a two–year test program.

Divorce rates in Duval County, Florida–which includes the fourth–biggest city in the state, Jacksonville–experienced a stunning 28 percent plunge between 2015 and 2017, according to the Philanthropy Roundtable, the program’s initial sponsor.

That’s a number that should have prompted headlines nationwide, it’s so big. And it’s a story communities across the country should be studying, it’s so important.

There was even more positive news if you care about God and faith in America:

Two prominent experts in the field of family and marriage – W. Bradford Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, and Spencer James, an assistant professor for the School of Family Life at Brigham Young University – studied the work being done in Jacksonville and noted that churches played a pivotal role in driving those divorce numbers down in Duval County.

Photo: Siora Photography, Unsplash

Read the full story at Newsweek.
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