The theoretical rationale of this study is that conditions associated with divorce reside outside the family within a broader social system where the family finds itself located. The absence of major differences in divorce law from one place to another within the Soviet Union makes it possible to explore this hypothesis by examining areal differentials in divorce rates. Crude divorce rates and crude marriage rates for 1960 have been published in Vestnik Statistiki for 109 political-administrative areas in the Soviet Union. Several indicators of modernization are available for the same areas from the 1959 U.S.S.R. Census of Population. About 80 per cent of the variation among areas with respect to the crude divorce rate is accounted for by six variables: the crude marriage rate, the percentage of urban population, and the employee-worker ratio in the labor force, each of which is positively associated with the divorce rate; and the proportion of poorly educated women, the ratio of children to adult males, and the mean household-family size, each of which is negatively associated with the divorce rate.

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