While divorce is still less common in rural areas than the national average, a sharp jump in divorces has been seen in these regions, the New York Times reports.

The publication analyzed U.S. Census data and found that rural Americans are now just as likely to get divorced as urban residents, a signal that families in rural regions are going through a transformation as women have gained more autonomy and geographic distinctions have virtually vanished.

“In the bottom ranks, men have lost ground and women have gained,” explained a law professor from the University of Missouri-Kansas City to the news source. “A blue-collar guy has less to offer today than he did in 1979.”

According to the Wichita Eagle, the closing gap between divorce rates in rural and city areas could be due to the fact that divorce rates in urban regions are declining. The publication reported that Americans who have a college degree are less likely to get divorced than those with a high school diploma, and while one in six rural residents have a college degree, one in three urban residents do.

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