SWS Q4 2017 Survey: 53% agree to legalize divorce for irreconcilably separated couples

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Statistically, an average 53% of adult Filipinos nationwide support the legalization of divorce for irreconcilably separated couples, based on the Social Weather Surveys of March 25-28, 2017 and December 8-16, 2017.

To the test statement, “Married couples who have already separated and cannot reconcile anymore should be allowed to divorce so that they can get legally married again,” 53% agreed (30% strongly and 23% somewhat), and almost a third (32%) disagreed (10% somewhat and 22% strongly). Fifteen percent were undecided on the matter.

This gives a net agreement score (% agree minus % disagree) of +21, classified by SWS as moderately strong.

Support for the legalization of divorce used to be split when SWS first surveyed it in 2005: 43% agreed, 12% were undecided, and 45% disagreed, for a neutral net agreement of -2.

The question was asked for the second time six years after in 2011 and obtained moderately strong support. When it was asked for the third time three years after in 2014, it went to very strong and stayed at moderately strong up to 2017.

In the Social Weather Surveys, 50% of the respondents are men, and 50% are women. As of 2017, an average 33% of the men are married, 7% have live-in partners, 7% have never married, and 3% are singles who are widowed/separated. Among women, 29% are married, 9% are singles who are widowed/separated, 8% have live-in partners, and 4% have never married.

Net agreement with legalizing divorce was very strong among women with live-in partners (+44), men with live-in partners (+37), and widowed/separated men (+33).

It was moderately strong among widowed/separated women (+24), women who have never married (+24), men who have never married (+21), married men (+19), and married women (+12).

When it was first asked in 2005, support for divorce was already very strong among women with live-in partner at +48, and moderately strong men with live-in partner at +23, and among widowed/separated men at +19. On the other hand, it was neutral among men and women who have never married both at +9, widowed/separated women at net zero, and married men at -3, while was moderately weak among married women at -10.

Among men who have never married, net agreement was a moderately strong +21 (54% agree, 32% disagree, correctly rounded) in 2017. It was neutral in 2005, then rose to moderately strong to very strong levels since 2011.

Among women who have never married, it was a moderately strong +24 (55% agree, 31% disagree) in 2017. It was neutral in 2005 before it rose to very strong in 2011, then stayed at moderately strong levels from 2014 to 2017.

Among men who are widowed/separated, it was a very strong +33 (60% agree, 27% disagree) in 2017. It was moderately strong in 2005 before it rose to very strong to extremely strong levels from 2011 to 2017.

Among women who are widowed/separated, it was a moderately strong +24 (56% agree, 33% disagree, correctly rounded) in 2017. It was at neutral levels in 2005 and 2011 before it rose to moderately strong to very strong levels from 2014 to 2017.

Among married men, it was a moderately strong +19 (50% agree, 32% disagree, correctly rounded) in 2017. It was neutral in 2005 before it rose to moderately strong to very strong levels from 2011 to 2017.

Among women who are married, it was a moderately strong +12 (49% agree, 37% disagree) in 2017. Following a moderately weak support in 2005, it rose to mostly moderately strong levels from 2011to 2017.

Among men with live-in partner, it was a very strong +37 (60% agree, 23% disagree) in 2017. It was at moderately strong to extremely strong levels since 2005.

Among women with live-in partner, net agreement was a very strong +44 (64% agree, 20% disagree) in 2017. Except for the neutral score in 2015, it has been at very strong levels since 2005.

‘Very Strong’ in Metro Manila
Net agreement with the proposition was highest in Metro Manila at very strong +35, followed by moderately strong in Balance Luzon at +23, Mindanao at +15, and Visayas at +14.

When it was first asked in 2005, support for divorce was already moderately strong in Balance Luzon at +11. It was neutral in NCR at +1 and in Mindanao at -7, and moderately weak in Visayas at -24.

In Metro Manila, net agreement was a very strong +35 (61% agree, 26% disagree) in 2017. After the neutral in 2005, it stayed at moderately strong to very strong levels since 2011.

In Balance Luzon, it was moderately strong +23 (55% agree, 31% disagree, correctly rounded) in 2017. It has been at moderately strong levels since 2005, except in 2014 when it rose to very strong.

In Visayas, it was a moderately strong +14 (49% agree, 35% disagree) in 2017. It used to be moderately weak in 2005 before it rose to neutral to moderately strong levels since 2011.

In Mindanao, it was a moderately strong +15 (49% agree, 34% disagree) in 2017. It was at neutral levels of in 2005 and 2011 before it rose to moderately strong to very strong levels from 2014 to 2017.

‘Neutral’ among class ABC
Net agreement with legalizing divorce was at moderately strong levels of +23 among class D and +14 among class E, and a neutral +5 among class ABC.

In 2005, support for divorce was already moderately strong among class ABC at +25. It was neutral among class D at -2, and moderately weak among class E at -13.

Among class ABC, net agreement was a neutral +5 (43% agree, 38% disagree) in 2017. It stayed moderately strong since 2005 except for the very strong in 2016 and neutral in 2017.

Among class D, it was a moderately strong +23 (54% agree, 31% disagree) in 2017. It has been at moderately strong to very strong levels since 2011, following the neutral level in 2005.

Among class E, it was a moderately strong +14 (49% agree, 35% disagree) in 2017. After the moderately weak in 2005, it has been at moderately strong levels since 2011.

‘Neutral’ among Iglesia Ni Cristos
Net agreement with legalizing divorce was moderately strong among Catholics at +23 and other Christians at +12, while it was neutral among Iglesia ni Cristos at -8.

In 2005, support for divorce was neutral among Catholics at -1. It was moderately weak among other Christians at -11, and very weak among Iglesia ni Cristos at -30.

Among Catholics, net agreement was a moderately strong +23 (54% agree, 31% disagree) in 2017. Following the neutral in 2005, it rose to moderately strong to very strong levels since 2011.

Among other Christians, it was a moderately strong +12 (49% agree, 37% disagree) in 2017. It was moderately weak in 2005, before it rose to neutral to moderately strong levels from 2011 to 2017.

Among members of Iglesia Ni Cristo, it was a neutral -8 (38% agree, 47% disagree, correctly rounded) in 2017. It used to be very weak in 2005 before it rose to neutral to moderately strong levels from 2011 to 2017.

The survey was asked also to Muslims but the findings were not applicable since they currently have divorce in their Shari’ah Law.

Support for divorce stronger among those who want a happier love life

Support for divorce is stronger among those who said their love life could happier, than those who have a very happy or no love life.

Net agreement was a very strong +32 (60% agree, 29% disagree, correctly rounded) among those said their love life could be happier, higher than the moderately strong +19 (52% agree, 33% disagree) among those with very happy love life, and the moderately strong +17 (52% agree, 35% disagree) among those who have no love life.

The December 2017 survey findings about happiness with love life was reported by SWS on February 13, 2018.

Survey background
The 2017 Social Weather Surveys cited in this report were conducted from March 25-28, 2017 and December 8-16, 2017. Both surveys used face-to-face interviews of 1,200 adults (18 years old and above) nationwide: 300 each in Metro Manila, Balance Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao (sampling error margins of ±3% for national percentages, and ±6% each for Metro Manila, Balance Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao).

The SWS survey question on divorce is non-commissioned, and is included on SWS’s own initiative and released as a public service.

SWS employs its own staff for questionnaire design, sampling, fieldwork, data-processing, and analysis, and does not outsource any of its survey operations. This report was prepared by Christine Belle E. Torres, with special tabulations made by Aileen M. Montibon.