Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Sociology and Rural Studies

First Advisor

Robert T. Wagner


In South Dakota, the divorce rate has increased every year during the 1970’s, climbing from a rate of 2.0 per 1,000 population in 1970 to 3.4 per 1,000 population in 1976. Commenting on this, Judge John Wilds, a presiding Circuit Court Judge in Minnehaha County, recently stated that he believed the increasing divorce rate in that county was due in part to the high level of labor force participation by married women. Margie Trankle, a counselor for Lutheran Social Services, agreed with Wilds that working women may increase the divorce rate by decreasing their own dependence on their husbands. Both of these conclusions, however, appear based on conjecture and not on the findings of rigorous research. Consequently, this study investigates the following: “What changes have occurred in the divorce rate in South Dakota counties from 1950-1960, 1960-1970, and 1950-1970, and what socio-demographic factors are associated with this change?’ The research topic is important for two reasons. Firstly, socioeconomic and demographic factors will be analyzed as to their relationship with divorce. This study will also identify divorce patterns in South Dakota and examine what generalizations can be made about divorce trends in South Dakota. Secondly, the findings of the research study will help agencies and policy makers who are concerned with planning for family adjustment problems. Knowledge of the relationship between divorce rate and other variables will allow greater understanding in the divorce situation and, hence, will help subsequent program development in meeting the needs of the divorced and their families.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Divorce -- South Dakota



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University