Solveig Glestad Christiansen

About Solveig Glestad Christiansen

Solveig Glestad Christiansen recently graduated from the University of Oslo with a PhD in Demography. This research was undertaken while she took part in the Young Scientist Summer Program at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Vienna.

Is Divorce Beneficial to the Environment?

An earlier research article, which received extensive media coverage, argued that divorce leads to a higher use of resources such as domestic energy and water (Yu and Liu 2007). Considering 12 countries around the world they found that divorce leads to an increase in the number of small, less energy efficient households. Those who live alone usually live in housing with more square feet per person than those who live as a couple. This means that two people living alone require more heating than a couple living together. In addition, some consumer durables that require electricity are consumed at the household level, such as refrigerators, freezers, TVs etc. This leads Yu and Liu to conclude that high divorce rates will entail high levels of energy consumption.

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