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SD Family Values: More Divorce, No Market for Midwives

After decades of domination by family-values Republicans, what does South Dakota get? More divorces in Sioux Falls:

Judge Robin Houwman knows the “what.” She doesn’t know the “why.”

The presiding judge of the Second Judicial Court this week warned the Minnehaha County Commission that the court’s caseloads are rising so fast that there’s a need for more people behind the bench in Lincoln and Minnehaha Counties.

And divorce filings are contributing to that trend. In a big way.

Houwman revealed that the Second Circuit saw a 25 percent jump in divorce filings in the last year [Jonathan Ellis, “New Divorce Filings Surge,” Dakota Scout, 2023.04.28].

…and not enough babies to support midwifery in Rapid City:

Arielle Zionts, tweet, 2023.04.28.
Arielle Zionts, tweet, 2023.04.28.

The CDC says South Dakota is leading in popping out babies, but evidently we aren’t doing a good job of getting insurance to pay for their midwifely guidance into the world or of keeping parents together to raise those babies.


  1. sx123 2023-05-01

    If you can get through winter here without getting divorced, you’re doing good.

    I’ve always been puzzled/amused how family value promoters can vote for someone on their 3rd wife.

    Hypocricy much?

  2. P. Aitch 2023-05-01

    Divorce rates are increasing due to several factors, including:
    1) Change in societal norms: Today, it is more socially accepted to end a marriage if it is not working rather than trying to stick it out.
    2) Ease of getting a divorce: The legal process of getting a divorce has become easier and more accessible, leading to a rise in the number of people choosing to end their marriages.
    3) Financial independence: As more women have become financially independent over the years, they no longer have to rely on their spouses for money, which has made it easier for them to leave unhappy marriages.
    4) Communication breakdown: Often, couples who divorce cite a lack of communication as a key factor in the breakdown of their relationship.
    5) Infidelity: Cheating remains a leading cause of divorce in many cases.

  3. PWK 2023-05-01

    SF should bring back one of it’s taglines from the 1920s – “divorce capital of the USA”.
    Sioux Falls has always been a societal pacesetter.

  4. Marie 2023-05-01

    While South Dakota has a higher fertility rate than surrounding states, it also continues to have among the highest infant mortality rates in the US.
    South Dakota’s maternal mortality rate continues to rise. Much of South Dakota is an OB/GYN/certified midwife desert. While 33 states have already implemented Medicaid’s 12-Month Postpartum Coverage Extension, South Dakota’s application is still pending.

  5. Mark Anderson 2023-05-01

    If you just got married in Hosmer you’d still be married.

  6. Donald Pay 2023-05-01

    What makes people think that rising divorce rates indicate a decline in family values? What are “family values,” anyway?

  7. Arlo Blundt 2023-05-01

    Donald…don’t you know?? Family Values are the same as “South Dakota Values”.

  8. Arlo Blundt 2023-05-01

    Sorry Cory …my name bar is on the fritz.

  9. DaveFN 2023-05-01

    Donald Pay

    Certainly you know that fundamentalists and like simple-minded thinkers are overwhelmed with complex correlations from statistical studies (such as in the below link), hence their default to a few enumerated reasons at best. At worst the default is to a single fuzzy explanation/cause such as “family values” (when ” original sin” stopped working sometime ago).

  10. O 2023-05-01

    I would add to P. Aich’s thesis that is the very focus on family values that has caused the spike in divorces: couples who want to “do the right thing” may rush into marriage when it is not the right next step — all to appease the value police of the fundamentalist Christian-Right.

  11. All Mammal 2023-05-01

    I used to think that Lake Superior was pretty arrogant. But if you think about it, all the Great Lakes are pretty full of themselves.

  12. David Bergan 2023-05-02

    The national historical trend in that CDC map is frightening. The birthgap pandemic has arrived in America.

    Kind regards,

  13. David Bergan 2023-05-02

    Hi Eve!

    However, that map doesn’t show a historical trend. In 2014, 2016, and 2018, SD is nowhere near the top. The “Death Rate” statistic is “infant deaths per 1,000 live births” and the Death count is fairly constant across years… ([2005] 80, 70, 90, 60, 94, 70, 80, 80 [2020]).

    However, live births have been dropping. From Cory’s map we see Fertility rates for SD of ([2005] 74.7, 77.8, 78.2, 77.7, 76.4, 73.6, 70.6, 66.7, 68.6 [2021]).

    Compare that to California and Colorado… each went from fertility rates near 70 in 2005 to 53 in 2021. New Mexico went from 73 to 53. Arizona… 80 to 55. That’s the birthgap pandemic. With life expectancy increasing and fertility rates decreasing, a country has a practical problem of having more retirees than they can keep socially secure. But more important to me is the moral implication behind a low fertility rate… a growing number of adults don’t choose to find purpose in bringing children into the world. Are they pessimistic and think the world won’t be a good place to live? Do they think binging news or Netflix or social media is a more worthwhile use of their life?

    The stats show a sharp u-turn from the Malthusian predicament intellectuals thought we would be in. The concern used to be that we’d have more mouths to feed than we would be able… because fertility would grow exponentially. But since 1973, fertility started dropping in developed nations (even nations like Japan, where they didn’t have legal birth control until the 90s). It started dropping in the US later (around 2008).

    What broke, culturally, such that a large (and growing) portion of adults no longer desire to have children and share the joys of existence?

    Kind regards,

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