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Did Divorces Decline After the Attacks on the World Trade Center?


  • This article is based on the first author's dissertation research completed at Tulane University. The first two authors contributed the majority of the work, and their contribution was equivalent.

Paul A. Nakonezny, Department of Clinical Sciences, Division of Biostatistics, The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, 6363 Forest Park Road, Suite 651, Dallas, TX 75390-8828. E-mail:


The attack on the World Trade Center (WTC) on September 11, 2001, was an act of terrorism that had many potential influences on the city and state, including influences on families. We analyzed divorce data from 1991 to 2005 for all 62 New York counties to assess divorce response to the attack on the WTC. The results suggested that there were lower observed divorce rates in New York following the attack on the WTC than the prevailing 10-year cubic divorce trend would have predicted. We also compared counties in and around New York City to those farther away, and we compared metropolitan to nonmetropolitan counties in New York. In metropolitan counties, divorces were lower in the predicted direction.