Daughter-Inspired Divorce

Couples with a daughter are more likely to divorce than those with a son. The source of friction is dad.

Daughters have long been linked with divorce. A couple’s 1st-born being a girl increases the likelihood of their subsequently splitting up.

The trouble comes after a girl passes puberty. Sociologists Jan Kabátek and David Ribar: “Teenage girls are likely to be subject to stricter regimes, less autonomy and more parental supervision than teenage boys, and these are likely to be met with child’s opposition.”

As teens, daughters present an especial challenge to their fathers, though only for men without sisters. “Divorce risk is substantial for fathers who have no sisters, but is absent for fathers with sisters,” report Kabátek and Ribar. “Men who experienced more mixed gender relationships when growing up may be better prepared for similar relationships in their own households.”

The peak of divorce hazard for sisterless fathers is when a girl is 15 years old. Divorce potential from daughter difficulties passes when a young woman reaches 19.


Jan Kabátek & David Ribar, “Teenage daughters as a cause of divorce,” The Economic Journal (30 December 2020).