Women hit much harder financially by divorce than men
On average, women suffer the most financially after a divorce. Statistics Netherlands reports that women lose more purchasing power than men and are often the ones who leave the owner-occupied home where they lived with their ex.
The researchers followed men and women through 2019 after they separated in 2014. The only looked at people aged 25 to 60 years. One year after divorce, women were found to have 29 percent less purchasing power than men in the same situation.
The main cause for the loss of purchasing power of divorced women is that the usually higher income of their ex-husband disappears. To a lesser extent, women are also more likely to take the children into their home. The statisticians know from previous research that child support slightly reduces the purchasing power differences between men and women.
In the years after the divorce, the average purchasing power of women rose again more quickly than men's, but not enough to fully compensate for the decline in the immediate aftermath of the divorce. After five years, the purchasing power of women was still 21 percent lower than that of men divorced in the same year. In their analysis, the researchers took into account differences between the households in which men and women live, for example in terms of the number of children.
One of the reasons why the financial situation of women improved in the five years after their divorce is because some started living together with someone else again. This happened especially among young women without children. What also counted is that more women started working after a divorce and they also worked more hours.
Women are more likely than men to leave the owner-occupied home they shared before divorcing. This is mainly because men are better able to afford continuing to live in the owner-occupied home. After divorce, women are also less likely to move into an owner-occupied home than their peers. Men also often take a step back in terms of housing after they got divorced, for example by exchanging an owner-occupied home for a rental home or by moving into a a smaller home.
Reporting by ANP