News You Can Use
Divorce Found to Harm The Environment With Higher Energy, Water Use
By Juliet Eilperin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, December 4, 2007; Page A02
Divorce is not just a family matter. It exacts a serious toll on the environment by boosting the energy and water consumption of those who used to live together, according to a study by two Michigan State University researchers.
The analysis found that cohabiting couples and families around the globe use resources more efficiently than households that have split up. The researchers calculated that in 2005, divorced American households used between 42 and 61 percent more resources per person than before they separated, spending 46 percent more per person on electricity and 56 percent more on water.
An eternal mystery is how do people in the USA manage to consume so much. per capita income in the USA is huge, but US consumption is really huge. The US has low investment and low government consumption as a share of GNP yet runs a huge trade deficit. At the same time, people in the USA work long hours and are more likely to say they would like to work more for the same hourly pay than less.
I always thought the issue was mostly huge houses and huge cars, but the unusually high divorce rate must be part of it. Also high fertility, of course.