Philip N. Cohen, University of Maryland.
University of Maryland sociologist Philip N. Cohen seeks help in stopping the federal government's plan to cut questions about marriage and divorce from the American Community Survey.

Save the family law stats!

Philip N. Cohen, the University of Maryland sociologist who put figures to the feeling we all had that divorces decline with the economy, is back — this time with a new study. And a plea.

First, the study: Based on data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, Cohen looked at the nation’s largest population centers and determined where Millennials are most likely to get divorced. Portland, Ore., took the top spot, while New York City clocked in at #25; Baltimore came in at #14 and Washington, D.C., at #22.

Ultimately, though, Cohen’s post on his Family Inequality blog is all about the plea. The source of his numbers is being threatened by the federal budget-cutting axe.

In a nutshell, the highly detailed ACS is also highly expensive to administer. In hope of saving money by streamlining the survey, the federal government has identified seven questions that could be cut, “including the ones I’ve been using here,” Cohen writes — marital events, marital history and others.

And if that information goes, there’s no replacing it.

“Unfortunately, there is no legal or legislative mandate to collect this information down to the local level, which is why it’s on the chopping block,” Cohen says. “It’s just super interesting and important, not legally required. So we need to communicate that up the chain of command and hope they listen.”

If you feel like this is information worth knowing, here’s your chance to tell the regulators so. The information about the planned cuts to the American Community Survey was published in the Federal Register on Oct. 31.

The comment period closes Dec. 30. Until then, direct all written comments to:

Jennifer Jessup

Departmental Paperwork Clearance officer

Department of Commerce, Room 6616

14th and Constitution Ave. N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20230

Comments can also be sent via email to


About Barbara Grzincic

Barbara Grzincic is managing editor at The Daily Record and edits TDR's Maryland Family Law Update.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *