Today's figures show that the divorce rate has fallen to a 22-year low.
Is this good news? Superficially, it seems so. Divorce makes people unhappy, even if they were in a miserable marriage beforehand. And children from intact families grow up to be happier (pdf) and better educated than those from broken homes - a tendency that might not be much ameliorated by policy intervention.
So, less D.I.V.O.R.C.E is to be welcomed?
One reason why divorce rates are falling might be that marriage rates are falling.
Obviously, fewer marriages mean fewer divorces. But they might also mean a lower divorce rate. This is because when everyone gets married, there'll be lots of bad marriages. But if there are fewer marriages, only those who are reasonably sure that they've found "the one" will get married. So, fewer marriages mean better marriages. A lower divorce rate is therefore a product of a selection bias.
In this way, far from being something to be welcomed, a lower divorce rate might instead be a sign of declining social capital.