“Divorce Rates Increase in GCC Countries”
In the November 5, 2010 issue of Arab News, Booz & Company’s Mona Al-Munajjed (Middle East) said traditions, a change in lifestyle and an emphasis on material life along with varying levels of liberalism and conservatism are all contributing factors to rapidly accelerating divorce rates in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. Her study, “Divorce in Gulf Cooperation Council Countries: Risks and Implications,” stated that divorce rates are almost equal to marriage rates among those aged 20 to 29, suggesting that young couples are more likely to divorce in the initial years of marriage. Recent statistics show that the total divorce rate as a percentage of all marriages in Gulf countries has reached 20 percent in Saudi Arabia (2008), 24 percent in Bahrain (2007), 25.6 percent in the UAE (2008) and 34.8 percent in Qatar (2009). The study clarified that changes in lifestyle and consumer behavior drove some couples into falling in dept, which can also result in divorce. And it suggested that as women in the GCC countries enjoy greater social, financial and psychological independence, they could have higher expectations of what they want in marriage—which in turn might lead to divorce. Publications covering the report included Saudi Gazette, ArabianBusiness.com, Trade Arabia and Business Intelligence Middle East.