The Incredible Success Story Behind One County’s Plummeting Divorce Rate Should Inspire Us All

Anyone who’s experienced divorce knows the tragic consequences. It’s hard on the adults, the kids and anyone else connected to it. In an age where common ground is hard to find, there’s been widespread agreement in academic and political circles about the importance of family stability in the lives of children and communities across the country. Yet there’s also been a real sense of fatalism about our ability to do anything about it. Changing something as important as divorce rates has seemed about as possible as changing the weather to many experts and social scientists.

Then one man on a mission—along with a team of marriage experts and philanthropists—took a run at the problem, deploying diagnostics and old-school social capital to drive some stunning results in a two-year test program.

Divorce rates in Duval County, Florida—which includes the fourth-biggest city in the state, Jacksonville—experienced a stunning 28 percent plunge between 2015 and 2017, according to the Philanthropy Roundtable, the program’s initial sponsor.

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