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Divorce Isn't Eco-Friendly
Date:12/3/2007

cent to 53 percent during the same time period. In China, almost 2 million couples untied the knot in 2006.

For this study, published online in this week's edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Liu and his team compared differences between married and divorced households to see if they varied in their consumption of three important but increasingly limited resources: land (measured by number of rooms in the house), electricity and water.

Among their findings:

  • In 12 countries studied between 1998 and 2002, there were 1.1 to 1.8 fewer people living in an average divorced household, compared to an average married household. Another way to say it: The average divorced household was 27 percent to 41 percent smaller than the average married household.
  • If divorced households in these 12 countries (which included the United States, Brazil, Greece, Mexico and South Africa) had combined to become the same size as a married household, there would have been 7.4 million fewer households overall.
  • In the 12 countries, divorced households occupied 33 percent to 95 percent more rooms per person than married households. Expanding divorced households to the size of married households would have resulted in 8.4 million to 37.5 million fewer rooms in less developed and westernized countries, respectively.
  • In the United States alone in 2005, 38.5 million rooms would have been unnecessary (along with heating and lighting costs) if divorced households combined to become the same size as married households.
  • Also in the United States in 2005, divorced households used 73 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity and 627 billion gallons of water that could have been saved if the divorced households had remained the same size as married households.

As with so many things, love may be the solution.

"People can try to stay married and not get div
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