After Tally and I first learned the divorce rate wasn’t what we thought it was, we set out to discover the truth—with no idea we were initiating a project that would take eight years, thousands of hours, and the help of hundreds of generous people.
Among those were several dozen members of the academic/research community who have been working in this field for years-- and without whom we could not have investigated this extremely complex field in any meaningful way. These renowned demographers, sociologists, and other experts both helped us understand this arena and provided very useful and often customized data as we began to uncover the good news side of the story.
Several of them generously gave their time for advice and input via conference calls and even in person meetings in various cities. Even though we found ourselves questioning some of their projections (such as the research community’s consensus projection of a 40-50% divorce rate) they still generously consulted with us.
We worked most closely with Dr. Scott Stanley at the University of Denver, Dr. Brad Wilcox at the University of Virginia, Dr. Sam Sturgeon at Demographic Intelligence, Dr. Jeffrey Dew at Utah State University, director Tom Smith at the General Social Survey, and the incredibly skilled and helpful staff of the U.S. Census Bureau ACS and SIPP offices (who, due to policy, preferred not be named). We also consulted with and received information from Dr. Paul Amato at Penn State University, Dr. Dana Rotz at Mathematica Policy Research, Dr. Linda Waite at the University of Chicago, Dr. David Olson at PREPARE/ENRICH, Dr. Steven Beach at the University of Georgia, Dr. Kelly Raley at the University of Texas, Dr. Betsey Stevenson at the University of Michigan, Dr. Annette Mahoney at Bowling Green State University, Dr. Christopher Ellison at the University of Texas at San Antonio, Dr. Tim Heaton at Brigham Young University, Dr. Sheela Kennedy at the University of Minnesota, Dr. Bradley Wright at the University of Connecticut, Dr. Francesca Adler-Baeder and Dr. Chelsea Garneau at Auburn University. We are also grateful for Dr. Andrew Cherlin at Johns Hopkins University; though he was on sabbatical and not directly interviewed, we heavily drew upon his work.
In addition to the academic community, we also worked with several other researchers working in the marriage-and-family community, whose help was very valuable in our learning and investigation process. These include Clint Jenkin and Pam Jacob at Barna Group, who worked with us many months to dig out the real answers about churchgoers; Dr. Chuck Cowan at Analytic Focus and Felicia Rogers and the team at Decision Analyst, whose expert help and support of my own research surveys has been invaluable over the years; Glenn Stanton at Focus on the Family; Pat Fagan at the Family Research Council; Diane Mannina at Heritage Foundation; Glenn Gritzon at FamilyLife; Dr. Peter Larson at Tango Group; and Randy Hicks and Jamie Lord with the Georgia Center for Opportunity.
Again, even though in some cases we ended up viewing the data in different ways, all these researchers were supportive of the big picture of unearthing the very real and accurate good news about marriage that exists but is often overlooked. We are very grateful for their input.