Crisis in Greece prompts increase in marriage breakups


The rate of divorces has increased over the course of Greece’s economic crisis, with the most recent available statistics showing a third of marriages ending in divorce compared to two in 10 before the recession.

Statistics had initially suggested that couples pulled together during the crisis, with the number of recorded divorces dropping from 13,275 in 2010 to 12,705 in 2011. In 2012, however, divorces spiked to 14,880 and reached a record of 16,717 in 2013. There was a drop to 14,417 in 2014, the most recent year for which official statistics are available, but experts believe the broader trend is toward a disintegration of marriages. Some 60 percent of married couples who break up have been together for more than 10 years.

“In Greece, traditional networks such as the family remain strong, and this was expressed in the restrained level of divorces at the beginning of the recession,” according to Laura Maratou-Alipranti, a professor of sociology and psychology at the University of Athens. “Over time, however, the rate [of divorces] skyrocketed and now stands at around 30 to 32 percent of marriages compared to previous levels of 22 percent,” she said.

“The economic problems that citizens face gradually break into the family, making it more fragile, more susceptible to rifts and separation,” Maratou-Alipranti said, adding that economic pressures and stress can transform into domestic violence, both psychological and physical.