How many american marriages end in divorce

Divorce Statistics and Facts | What Affects Divorce Rates in the U.S.?

If you spend enough time perusing the internet, you’ll find no shortage of studies, statistics, facts about divorce.

There seems to be a study looking into almost every possible factor that might affect marriages and lead to divorce.  These studies have yielded some extremely interesting and – in some cases – downright shocking information about divorce in both the United States and the rest of the world.

Just in case you don’t have 20 hours to spare (it may or may not have taken this long to create this list), we have compiled a nearly exhaustive list with every divorce statistic, study, and fact that we could find.  As we move into 2022, our San Diego divorce lawyer team has provided everything you need to know – and quite possibly more- about divorce.

COVID-19 Pandemic Divorce Statistics

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and varying states of lockdowns all over the United States and the World, we may be in for the largest single-year increase in divorce in decades.     We will keep track of any reports and data that come out over the next year and report here.

What we know so far:

  • Jurisdictions all over the world and in nearly every city in the U.S. have reported significant increases in domestic violence.
  • Relationships experiencing problems are likely being stressed to the point of breaking by factors such as the lockdown, financial strain and political discord.
  • We won’t have a full picture of the fallout until 2021 at the earliest.

U.S. Divorce Rate

U.S. Divorce and Marriage Rates by Year


1. In 2019 (the latest data available), the marriage rate in the United States was 6.1 per 1,000 total population.

2. In the same year, the divorce rate was the U.S. is  2.7 per 1,000 population (with 44 states and D.C. reporting) This is known as the “crude divorce rate”. Although useful for describing changes in divorce rates over time, the crude divorce rate does not provide accurate information on the percentage of first marriages that end in divorce.

3. As of 2019, both marriage rates AND divorce rates in the US are decreasing – with the marriage rate dropping from 8.2 per 1,ooo people in 2000 to 6.1 and the divorce rate from 4.0 in 2000 to 2.7. Recent studies have shown that millennials are choosing to wait longer to get married and staying married longer and are the main driver in the decline of both the marriage and divorce rate in the US.

U.S. Divorce Rate per 1000 Married Women

4.  Currently, the divorce rate per 1000 married women is 16.9.  Many experts feel that this is a much more accurate measure of true divorce rate than the crude rate.

5.  The divorce rate per 1000 married women is nearly double that of 1960, but down from the all-time high of 22.6 in the early 1980s.

6.  Almost 50 percent of all marriages in the United States will end in divorce or separation.

7.  Researchers estimate that 41 percent of all first marriages end in divorce.

8.  60 percent of second marriages end in divorce.

9.  73 percent of all third marriages end in divorce.

10. The United States has the 6th highest divorce rate in the world. Here is a chart of the top twenty:

Countries with the Highest Divorce Rates in the World: Top 20

How Often Divorce Takes Place in the U.S.

(This information was recalculated based of newly released divorce figures from the CDC for the year 2019.  The true figures are likely higher, as the release only includes data from 44 reporting states)

11. Every 42 seconds, there is one divorce in America, That equates to 86 divorces per hour, 2,046 divorces per day, 14,364 divorces per week, and 746,971 divorces per year

12. Every 16 seconds, there is a marriage in the U.S.  That equates to 230 marriages per hour, 38,762 marriages per week and 2,015,603 per year.

13. There are nearly 3 divorces in the time it takes for a couple to recite their wedding vows (2 minutes).

14. More than 172 divorces occur during your typical romantic comedy movie (2 hours).

15. 430 divorces happen during the average wedding reception (5 hours).

16. There are 5,975,768 divorces over the course of an average first marriage that ends in divorce (8 years).

17. Over a 40 year period, 67 percent of first marriages terminate.

18. Among all Americans 18 years of age or older, whether they have been married or not, 25 percent have gone through a marital split.

19. 15 percent of adult women in the United States are divorced or separated today, compared with less than one percent in 1920.

20. The average first marriage that ends in divorce lasts about 8 years.

Median duration of first marriages that end in divorce:

Males: 7.8 years
Females: 7.9 years

Median duration of s

econd marriages:

Males: 7.3 years
Females: 6.8 years

21. People wait an average of three years after a divorce to remarry (if they remarry at all).

22. In 2011, only 29 out of every 1000 of divorced or widowed women remarried.

Who is Getting Divorce, When, and Why?

Who is Getting Divorced?

23. The average age for couples going through their first divorce is 30 years old.

24. 60 percent of all divorces involve individuals aged 25 to 39.

25. Wives are the ones who most often file for divorce at 66 percent on average. That figure has soared to nearly 75 percent in some years.

26. 5 Professions with highest divorce rates:

  • Dancers – 43
  • Bartender s- 38.4
  • Massage Therapists – 38.2
  • Gaming Cage Workers – 34.6
  • Gaming Service Workers – 31.3

27. 5 Professions with lowest divorce rates:

  • Farmers – 7.63
  • Podiatrists – 6.81
  • Clergy – 5.61
  • Optometrists – 4.01
  • Agricultural Engineers – 1.78

U.S. Divorce Rate by Occupation

Data comes from the

Occupation Divorce Rate
Dancers 43
Bartenders 38. 4
Massage Therapists 38.2
Gaming Cage Workers 34.6
Gaming Service Workers 31.3
Food and Tobacco Machine Operators 29.7
Telephone Operators 29.3
Textile Machine Operators 29
Nurses 28.9
Home Care Aids 28.7
Entertainers 28.4
Bellhops and Concierges 28.4
Telemarketers 28.1
Waitstaff 27.1
Roofers 26.8
Maids 26.3
Corrections Workers 21.3
Law Enforcement 14.47
Doctors and Surgeons 9.23
Mechanical Engineers 9.22
Medical Scientists 9.11
Other Scientists 8.79
Legislators 8. 74
Audiologists 7.77
Dentists 7.75
Farmers 7.63
Podiatrists 6.81
Clergy 5.61
Optometrists 4.01
Agricultural Engineers 1.78

*bonus: Law enforcement and police divorce rate is 14.47, while the rate for corrections workers is 21.3.

28. For instance, the groups with the most prolific experience of marriages ending in divorce are downscale adults (adults making less than $20,000
annually)  (39 percent), Baby Boomers (38 percent), those aligned with a non-Christian faith (38 percent), African-Americans (36 percent), and people who consider themselves
to be liberal on social and political matters (37 percent).

29. Among the population segments with the lowest likelihood of having been divorced subsequent to marriage are Catholics (28 percent), evangelicals (26 percent),
upscale adults (adults making more than $75000 annually) (22 percent), Asians (20 percent) and those who deem themselves to be conservative on social and
political matters (28%).

30. Divorce Rate By Ethnicity ( for women ):

Year 25-29 yrs 30-34 yrs 35-39 yrs 40-49 yrs 50-59 yrs 60-69 yrs 70 +
1996 19.7 26.1 32.2 40.8 36.1 26.6 17.2
2001 19.9 24.4 33.5 40.6 41.8 29.6 18
2004 12.4 23.2 30.5 39.1 44.3 33.9 18.1
2009 14.2 22.1 27.6 36.3 41.1 36.9 21.9
1996 14.7 28 40.7 44.5 42 35.6 21.9
2001 20.6 24.5 37. 3 42.2 44.7 33.8 25.4
2004 11 20.1 37.1 39 47.8 37.2 26.7
2009 14.6 23.9 32.7 35 48.2 40.3 27.8
1996 9.3 12 14.3 22.8 23.2 4.9 8.5
2001 4.1 10.7 18.1 17.5 22.7 9.9 5
2004 1.9 6.1 11.4 20.1 19.9 9.6 9.1
2009 1.3 7.8 13.2 20.6 18.5 16 11.3
1996 15.5 17.4 24 33.2 31.7 25.6 20. 3
2001 12.5 15.5 26.5 28.5 34 26.5 21.5
2004 8.8 16.3 24.7 24.4 33.1 23.9 19.5
2009 10.5 16.3 18.1 23.7 30.2 25 24.2

Military Divorce

31. According to the Pentagon, the military divorce rate is 3.4 percent in the 2013 fiscal year. However, the rate was significantly higher in military women at 7.2 percent.

32. The Divorce rate among enlisted troops was 3.8 percent. Among officers, the divorce rate was 1.9 percent.

33. The Air Force has the highest divorce rate among enlisted troops of any military branch at 4.3 percent.

34. The divorce rate among U.S. Navy Seals is over 90 percent.

Divorce Rate in Specific Population Segments

35. The divorce rate among people 50 and older has doubled in the past 20 years, according to research by Bowling Green State University.

36. The divorce rate among couples where one spouse is in jail or prison for one year or more is 80 percent for men and close to 100 percent for women.

Same-Sex Divorce Statistics

37. About 1 percent of married same-sex couples get divorced each year, while about 2 percent of married straight couples divorce.

38. According to figures from the UK’s Office of National Statistics, lesbian couples are nearly twice as likely to end a marriage or civil union than gay male couples are.

39. In the United States, the divorce rate is 3.1 per 1000 people that allow same-sex marriage, and 3.9 in states that prohibit it.

When Do People Divorce?

40. The average length of a marriage that ends in divorce is 8 years.

41. January is considered “divorce month”. People start looking for information before the New Year starts, but they can’t do much until the attorneys are back in the office. January 12-16 seems to be the magic week for filings.

Why People are Divorcing in the United States

42. Lack of commitment is the most common reason given by divorcing couples according to a recent national survey. Here are the reasons given and their percentages:

  • Lack of commitment 73%
  • Argue too much 56%
  • Infidelity 55%
  • Married too young 46%
  • Unrealistic expectations 45%
  • Lack of equality in the relationship 44%
  • Lack of preparation for marriage 41%
  • Domestic Violence or Abuse 25%

(Respondents often cited more that one reason, therefore the percentages add up to much more than 100 percent)

What Makes People More or Less Likely to Divorce?

Your Age

43. 48 percent of those who marry before the age of 18 are likely to divorce within 10 years, compared to 25 percent of those who marry after the age of 25.

44. 60 percent of couples married between the age of 20 -25 will end in divorce.

45. Those who wait to marry until they are over 25 years old are 24 percent less likely to get divorced.

If you or your Partner Have Been Married Before

46. If both you and your partner have had previous marriages, you are 90 percent more likely to get divorced than if this had been the first marriage for both of you.

Religion and Divorce

47. If a person has strong religious beliefs, the risk of divorce is 14 percent less and having no religious affiliation makes you 14 percent more likely to get divorced.

48. If you’re an evangelical Christian adult who has been married, there’s a 26 percent likelihood that you’ve been divorced—compared to a 28 percent chance for Catholics and a 38 percent chance for non-Christians.

49.   According to Dr. Jennifer Glass, one of the strongest factors predicting divorce rates (per 1000 married couples) is the concentration of conservative or evangelical Protestants in that county.  The correlation can be seen on this figure:  (insert divorce counties image)

Education and Intelligence

50. High School dropouts are 13 percent more likely to get divorced.

51. Individuals who have attended college have a 13 percent lower risk of divorce.

52. Those with “below average” IQs are 50 percent more likely to be divorced than those with “above average” IQs.

Political Affiliation

53. Political affiliation and it’s impact on divorce: Conservatives are the least likely to be divorced:  Conservative 28 percent, Liberal 37 percent, Moderate 33 percent.

54. If you live in a red (Republican) state, you are 27 percent more likely to get divorced than if you live in a blue (Democrat) state.

Cohabitation – If you lived with your partner before you got married

55. 60 percent of cohabiting couples will eventually marry. However, living together prior to marriage can increase the chance of getting divorced by as much as 40 percent.

56. If you are a female serial cohabiter – a woman who has lived with more than one partner before your first marriage – then you’re 40 percent more likely to get divorced than women who have never done so.

Where You Met

57. According to this study at least, if you met your spouse in high school, college, or grad school, you are 41 percent less likely to get divorced.

58. The other major difference was couples who met in bars were 24 percent more likely to get divorced than expected.

Your Sexual History

59. Women who lost their virginity as a teenager are more than twice as likely to get divorced in the first 5 years of marriage than women who waited until age 18 or older.

60. A 2011 study at the University of Iowa found that for both men and women, the loss of virginity before age 18 was correlated with a greater number of occurrences of divorce within the first 10 years of marriage.

61. When compared to women who began sexual activity in their early 20s, girls who initiated sexual activity at ages 13 or 14 were less than half as likely to be in stable marriages in their 30s. – (in this study a stable marriage was defined as a marriage of over five years).


62. Women with 6 or more premarital sexual partners are almost 3 times less likely to be in a stable marriage.

Where You Live Impacts Your Likelihood to Be Divorced

63.  According to the CDC, the five states with the highest divorce rates are:

  • Nevada at 5.6
  • West Virginia at 5.2
  • Arkansas at 5.3
  • Idaho at 4.9
  • Oklahoma at 5.2

64. The five states with the lowest divorce rate are:

  • Iowa at 2.4
  • Illinois at 2.6
  • Massachusetts at 2.7
  • North Dakota at 2.7
  • Pennsylvania at 2.8

65. Arkansas has the highest rate of individuals married 3 or more times. Men and women in Arkansas are twice as likely to be married 3 or more times than the national average.

Your Habits, Your Marriage

66. The risk of divorce was said to be almost doubled – 97 percent higher – when the mother went out to work but her husband made a “minimal contribution” to housework and childcare.

67. In 2011, Facebook was cited as a major contributor to 1/3 of divorce petitions examined by one U.K. study.

68. In a study by the University of Rochester, researchers said that watching romantic movies and having a conversation around it helps in lowering the divorce rates from 24 to 11 percent in marriages of three years.

69.  Pornography addiction was cited as a factor in 56 percent of divorces according to a recent study.

Your Parent’s Relationship

70. If your parents are happily married, your risk of divorce decreases by 14 percent.

71. If your parents married others after divorcing, you’re 91 percent more likely to get divorced.

72. According to Nicholas Wolfinger in “Understanding the Divorce Cycle”, the risk of divorce is 50 percent higher when one spouse comes from a divorced home and 200 percent higher when both partners do.

73. In addition, children of divorce are 50 percent more likely to marry another child of divorce.

74.  Certain studies have shown that daughters of divorced parents have a 60 percent higher divorce rate in marriages than children of non-divorced parents while sons have a 35 percent higher rate.

If you Have Kids or Not

75. The divorce rate for couples with children is as much as 40 percent lower than for those without children.

76. Half of all children in the United States will witness the ending of a parent’s marriage.

77. Of this half, close to 50 percent will also see the breakup of a parent’s second marriage.

78. If you have twins or triplets, your marriage is 17 percent more likely to end in divorce than if your children are not multiples.

79. If you have a daughter, you’re nearly 5 percent more likely to divorce than if you have a son.

80. When there are as many as three daughters that difference spiked to 10 percent.

81. Fathers are significantly less likely – 3 percent – to be living with their children if they have daughters versus sons.

82. Having a baby before marriage can increase the risk of divorce by 24 percent.

Your Finances and Their Effect on Divorce Rates

83. An annual income of over $50,000 can decrease the risk of divorce by as much as 30% versus those with an income of under $25k.

84. Feeling that one’s spouse spent money foolishly increased the likelihood of divorce 45 percent for both men and women.

85. Couples that argue about finances at least once a week are 30 more likely to get divorced.

86. The same study also found that couples with no assets at the beginning of a three-year period are 70 percent more likely to divorce by the end of that period than couples with $10,000 in assets.

Addiction, Mental Illness and Divorce

87. Couples are an astonishing 76-95% more likely to get divorced if only one of them smokes. The amount increases when the wife is the partner with the habit.

88. While couples who both smoke have it a bit better, a 1998 study found they are still 53% more likely than non-smoking couples to end their marriage.

89. Each liter of alcohol consumed raises the chance of divorce by 20%! Factor in that the average American drinks 9.4 liters of alcohol per year, raising their divorce likely hood by 188%!

90. According to a 9-year study by the University of Buffalo, couples who have similar heavy drinking patterns – either both are heavy drinkers or both are not- are more likely to stay together.

91. However, if one spouse is a heavy drinker and the other is not, they are 60 percent more likely to get divorced.

92. A multi-national study of mental disorders, marriage and divorce published in 2011 found that a sample of 18 mental disorders all increased the likelihood of divorce — ranging from a 20 percent increase to an 80 percent increase in the divorce rate. Addictions and major depression were the highest factors, with PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) also significant.

93. A recent study of divorce petitions found that nearly 15 percent of them cited video game addiction as a major factor in the decision to get divorced.

Divorce, Child Support and Child Custody

94. Forty-three percent of children in the United States are being raised without their fathers.

95. When the parents are happily married, the risk of divorce of their children decreases by 14 percent.

96. 90% of divorced mothers have custody of their children.

97. Over 79 percent of custodial mothers receive a child support award, while just under 30 percent of custodial fathers receive one.

98. 65% of divorced mothers receive no child support.

99. Over 46 percent of non-custodial mothers completely default on child support, compared to only 27 percent of non-custodial fathers.

Friend’s and Relative’s Impact on Divorce

100. If a close friend gets divorced, you are 147% more likely to become divorced and 33% more likely if a friend of a friend is divorced.

101. Studies at the University of California and Brown University cite that when a married person works with someone who is in the process of divorcing, it increases the married person chances of divorce by 75%.

102. These same studies also found that people with divorced sisters or brothers are 22% more likely to get divorced than if siblings are not divorced.

103. In a large-scale Canadian survey, 19 percent of men reported a significant drop in social support post-divorce.

The Financial Effects of Divorce

104. The average total cost of divorce in the United States is $15,000.

105. Families with children that were not poor before the divorce see their income drop as much as 50 percent.

106. Almost 50 percent of the parents with children that are going through a divorce move into poverty after the divorce.

107. 27% of recently divorced women had less than $25,000 in annual household income compared with 17% of recently divorced men.

108. 60% of people under poverty guidelines are divorced women and children.

The Toll a Divorce Takes

109. A new study entitled “Divorce and Death” shows that broken marriages can kill at the same rate as smoking cigarettes. Indications that the risk of dying is a full 23 percent higher among divorcées than married people.

110. One researcher determined that a single divorce costs state and federal governments about $30,000, based on such things as the higher use of food stamps and public housing as well as increased bankruptcies and juvenile delinquency.

111. The nation’s 1.4 million divorces in 2002 are estimated to have cost the taxpayers more than $30 billion.

112. An article in the New York Times stated that – of couples who seek marriage counseling – 38 percent end up divorced just two years later.

113. Only around five percent of divorces are decided in the courtroom. This means in 95 percent of divorce cases, the parties and their family law attorneys are able to settle issues amicably or in mediation.


The Five Most Expensive Divorces of all Time

According to an article on Divorce Help 360 here are the most expensive divorces of all time as well as the most expensive celebrity divorces of all time:

  • Harold and Sue Ann Hamm  – $5. 3 billion
  • Rupert and Anna Murdoch – $1.7 billion
  • Bernie and Slavica Ecclestone – $1.2 billion
  • Adnan Khashoggi and Soraya Khashoggi – $875 million
  • Craig and Wendy McCaw – $460 million

Most Expensive Celebrity Divorces

  • Mel and Robyn Gibson – $425 million
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver – $250-$300 million
  • Michael and Juanita Jordan – $168 million

Contact our reputable San Diego family law attorneys for a consultation! Call today! 619-284-4113

35 Stunning Stats for 2022

The divorce rate in America provides insight into today’s relationships. Knowing what percentage of marriages end in divorce and when divorce is most likely to occur tells us where we fit in that picture.

While the US divorce rate has remained relatively stable over recent years, it has actually declined in the long term. As the following stats show, however, the divorce rate in the United States in 2022 doesn’t necessarily provide the whole picture of marital success, separations, and relationship breakdowns.

  • The current divorce rate in the US is 2.3 persons per 1,000 people.
  • Overall, the rate of divorces in America is falling.
  • Divorces amongst people aged 50+ years are rising.
  • Fewer couples choose to marry than pre-1990.
  • The US divorce rate is the third-highest in the world.
  • There were around 630,000 divorces in the US in 2020.
  • Most Americans who file for divorce do so between January and March.

Divorce Rates in America Statistics 2022

1. The crude divorce rate in America is 2.3 per 1,000.  

According to the CDC, the current divorce rate is just 2.3 per 1,000. However, only 45 states and the District of Columbia submitted enough data to be considered in this nationwide study. As Indiana, California, Hawaii, New Mexico, and Minnesota are not counted, there may be some variation in this figure.

Recent divorce rates suggest a decrease in the number of people dissolving their marriages. 

The divorce rate has increased since 1960. But since 1990, there has been a downward trend in divorce statistics. This suggests divorce rates over time are changing drastically, as are marriage and cohabitation trends. By assessing the divorce rate statistics by year, it’s easy to see that the rate of divorce in the US is on a general decline. 

3. More people in the US were married in 2021 than in 1960. 

Despite the overall long-term increase in divorce rates in America, more US residents were married in 2021 than in 1960. Still, this is most likely a side-effect of an increasing population on marriage and divorce statistics.

4. Around 630,000 divorces took place in the US in 2020.

In 2020, approximately 630,505 divorces were granted in America, meaning that around 1.27 million people divorced that year. The national divorce rates per year will likely continue to fall, as this trend has been going strong for several decades.

5. During the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of divorces fell by 12%.

The projected figure for 2020 was 714,997, and states like Maryland (43.3%) and Louisiana (56.5%) had the most significant declines in divorce filings.

6. Remarriage increases the risk of divorce.

According to the Census Bureau, you are more likely to get divorced if you’ve been married at least once before. In other words, people have to put extra effort into making a non-first marriage work. 

7. There is a seasonal spike in divorces in the US.

More people file for a divorce between January and March than at any other time of year. Some researchers believe this is a side-effect of the perceived strain on familial relationships over the holidays.

8. On average, only 29 out of 1,000 divorced or widowed women decide to get married for the second time.

Around 58% of US-born adults decide to marry again after their first marriages end in divorce. The percentage of foreign-born US citizens going into a second marriage after their first divorce is slightly lower, at 51%.

9. Divorce rates vary dramatically from state to state.

The lowest divorce rate by state occurs in Massachusetts and Louisiana, with rates of just 1.0 and 1.4 per 1,000 people. Conversely, the states with the highest divorce rates are Wyoming and Alabama, with 3.8 and 3.7 divorcees per 1,000 people, respectively.

10. The average length of a marriage in the US is 19.9 years.

While the national average marriage length is just under 20 years, couples in Maine and West Virginia typically have the longest-lasting unions. The typical marriage in these lasts for 22.3 years.

11. The likelihood of divorce might be less than you think. 

The most common question surrounding divorce in the United States is: 

What percentage of marriages end in divorce?

Here’s the kicker:

Many people believe that this figure is around 50%. However, the actual percentage of marriages that end in divorce in the US varies between 40% and 50%. This means you are more likely to stay married than dissolve your marriage. Good news!

12. The divorce rate today is lower than a decade ago. 

The divorce rate in America in 2019 and 2020 was significantly lower than in 2009 and 2010. Despite a slight increase in 2010-11, the overall divorce rate has fallen throughout the last decade.

13. The national divorce rate for adults aged 25-39 is 24 per 1,000 persons.

For adults aged between 40-49 years of age, it’s 21 per 1,000 persons. In contrast, the divorce rate amongst adults aged 50+ years is 10 in 1,000 persons. When comparing divorce rates by age group, it’s clear that the older population tends to stick around much longer before choosing to leave an unhappy marriage, although this age group’s divorce rates have been on the uptake for the 25 years between 1990 and 2015. On the other hand, the same rates among the younger population have been declining.

14. The rate of divorce after 10 years is 48% for those who marry before the age of 18. 

However, the rate is just 25% for those who marry after the age of 25. For people who marry between the ages of 20-25, there is a 44%-60% chance of the union ending in divorce. 

These statistics confirm that the couple's age at the time of marrying impacts subsequent divorce rates.

15. Baby boomer divorce rates have risen dramatically over the last 30 years. 

So-called gray divorce rates, amongst adults aged 50+, the national divorce rate has roughly doubled since 1990. For those aged 65+, it has actually tripled, from 2 in 1,000 married persons to 6 in 1,000. This indicates people over 50 are more likely to get divorced now than ever before.

16. Successful marriage statistics are on the increase.

As divorce rates continue to reduce overall, successful marriage statistics increase accordingly. With a 40-50% chance of a marriage in the US ending in divorce, there is a 50%-60% chance that the marriage will not be dissolved. So, people who marry today stand a much better chance of having a successful marriage than ever before!

Ages 28-32 could be the best time to get married.

As we know by now, divorce rates vary by age. But there isn’t a linear trend that shows divorce rates increase or decrease as you get older. Still, people who marry in their late twenties or early thirties are statistically less likely to divorce.

18. People are 75% more likely to end their marriage if a friend is divorced. 

According to a research team from Brown University, having divorced friends can significantly increase your chances of becoming divorced yourself. While you are 75% more likely to end your own marriage if you are friends with a divorcee, you are 33% more likely to get divorced if you have a friend of a friend who has formally ended a marriage.

19. Divorce rates are falling, but so are marriage rates.

Although divorce rates have fallen recently, marriage rates have also dropped. When comparing marriage vs. divorce statistics, it is vital to assess the rates in context.

In the 2000s, the national marriage rate in America was 8. 2 people per 1,000. Currently, it is 5.1 per 1,000. With more couples living together without formalizing their union, the divorce rate cannot accurately represent the number of long-term relationship breakdowns.

20. Separation doesn’t count in divorce statistics.

Most people who separate end up divorcing, but that’s not always the case.

91% of separated white women will divorce within three years, but this figure drops to 77% for Hispanic women and 67% for Black women. As long-term separation is not counted in most divorce statistics, the rate of marriage breakdowns could be higher than divorce rates suggest.

21. A higher education level for women means lower divorce rates.

The average marriage failure rate varies depending on each spouse’s level of education. 78% of women with bachelor’s degrees who married for the first time in 2006-2010 can expect their marriage to last for at least 20 years. In contrast, 49% of women with some college education and 40% of those with a high school diploma or less can expect their marriage to last for the same period.

Even though education-related divorce rate statistics imply that a higher level of education equates to a lower chance of divorce, this is moderated by the age of each spouse: The divorce rates for young couples are higher in part because people who get married before attaining higher education do so much earlier in their life than those who wait to finish college, and are therefore less likely to have the life experience necessary to make long-lasting matches.

23. The millennial divorce rate is lower than those of their predecessors. 

People born between 1981 and 1996 are showing lower rates of divorce than older age groups. However, the millennial divorce rate may be impacted by the fact that this demographic typically chooses to marry at a later age, and many forego marriage in favor of cohabitation.

What’s more, millennials are less likely to have unrealistic expectations from marriage. As earlier generations typically married at a younger age and were less likely to cohabit before that, this contributes to their higher divorce rates.

24. Millennials are more cautious about marriage.

The generational gap in marriage and divorce rates may be partly due to the fact many millennials complete further education and begin their careers before tying the knot. While marriage and divorce rates in the US have fallen, the age at which millennials choose to marry is much higher compared to pre-1980 statistics.

25. Cohabiting can impact your risk of divorce. 

Couples who do not cohabit before marriage are less likely to divorce within the first 20 years of their union. Men who live with their partner prior to marriage have a 49% chance of avoiding divorce for at least 20 years, while women who live with their partner before marriage have a 46% chance of remaining married for at least 20 years.

26. Divorce is less likely than cohabitee break-ups.

There is a 20% chance that the first marriage results in divorce within five years. In comparison, couples who cohabit for five years have a 49% chance of separating. Similarly, married couples have a 33% chance of divorce within 10 years, whilst cohabiting couples have a 62% chance of splitting up in this timeframe. These statistics indicate that married couples are likely to remain together longer than couples who choose to cohabit but do not marry. 

27. Incompatibility is the leading cause of divorce in the US. 

According to the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts, the number one reason for divorce in America is “basic incompatibility.” 43% of research participants cited this reason as their primary decision to get a divorce. Infidelity and money issues were also highly relevant, with statistics showing that 28% and 22% of participants cited these reasons for obtaining a divorce.

These causes of divorce statistics highlight the most common reasons for couples to request a divorce, although parenting differences, addiction, and abuse are commonly cited, too. 

28. 23.5% of marriages end in divorce due to domestic violence.

Divorced people cite a lack of commitment (75%) as the main reason their civil union ended in a divorce. Other influential factors are infidelity (59.6%), constant arguing and conflict (57.7%), and marrying too young.

Lack of preparation before marriage is an issue that 42.3% of interviewed participants and 77.8% of married/divorced couples mention as an issue.

Same-sex Marriage and Divorce in the US.

29. The gay marriage divorce rate is equal to that of different-sex couples.

The Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law did publish data that suggested that the same-sex divorce rate was approximately half of the different-sex divorce rate. However, this was later retracted due to an error in calculating the rates. Revised figures showed the gay marriage divorce rate was broadly the same as married straight couples' divorce rate, in that around 2% of the population get divorced each year. 

30. Same-sex divorce data is still limited in the US.

As same-sex marriages were only recognized on a federal level in the US in 2013, there is still a lack of data regarding the rate of same-sex divorces. Over the next 10-20 years, more data on married same-sex couples will be gathered, and divorce rates are likely to become clearer.

Divorce and Children in America

31. 52% of single parents have been married at some point.

Slightly more than half of all single parents have been married. Although this includes widows and widowers, it’s also indicative of many children being raised by divorced parents.

32. 35% of parents who are now cohabiting were once married to someone else.

This statistic implies that a significant number of children are being raised by or living with informal step-parents.

33. Children of divorced parents are more likely to get divorced themselves.

Divorce statistics for children of divorced parents suggest that daughters are 60% more likely to get a divorce themselves. Sons are also more likely to get divorced, but “only” 35% more so than sons from non-dissolved marriages.

However, these stats do not account for the religious, moral, and socioeconomic factors that play a role in this pattern.

US Divorce Rates Compared to the Rest of the World

34. US divorce rates are higher than those of other continents. 

Comparative analysis shows that divorce rates in America are higher than in Europe.

Some European countries have fairly similar divorce rates to those in the US, while others have a far lower national divorce average. For Europe as a whole, this average falls below the overall US divorce rate.

35. America has the third-highest divorce rate in the world.

According to the United Nations, the Maldives has the highest crude divorce rate, with 10.97 divorces taking place per 1,000 people each year. Belarus has the second highest worldwide divorce rate, with 4.63 per 1,000, followed by the US at 2.3 per 1,000 people.


The divorce rate in America provides a snapshot of the changing institution of marriage and the views of average Americans.

Both the rate of divorce and the rate of marriage are falling. These statistics indicate that people are choosing more informal personal arrangements instead of formally recognized unions.

Whether you view the divorce rate in America by year or the divorce rate by years of marriage, the statistics regarding marriage dissolution represent society's changing views. Whereas marriage was once the norm, it is no longer seen as quite so essential for a fulfilled life.

Although many people expected the divorce rate 1950-present to increase, it has done the opposite. In the same way, today’s predictions regarding future figures may prove surprising.

10 countries with a high divorce rate Every year, fewer couples formalize their marital relations "as expected", and the number of divorces in registered families literally rolls over.

Nobody likes this situation, but no matter how hard the authorities try to influence it, there are fewer and fewer principled supporters of a strong, traditional marriage. nine0003

There are a lot of reasons for this state of affairs: economic, moral, religious, but they all lead to the same result - the number of divorces is growing at an alarming pace. To numerically evaluate this process, the so-called divorce rate is commonly used, which is defined as the number of divorces per year per thousand people. There is also an estimation method in which the number of divorces is divided by the number of marriages. Of course, both of these methods make it possible to obtain a very approximate picture, if only because they do not take into account the number of disintegrating families of those people who live in a civil marriage and, therefore, do not register their relationship. But, unfortunately, both methods show that the rapid growth of divorces is a completely reliable result. nine0003

Let's take a look at the top ten countries with the highest divorce rates.

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10. Hungary

In 2010, Eurostat data showed that Hungary ranks third in the world in terms of the percentage of divorces and marriages. Statistics show that 67% of marriages in the country end in divorce, and for every thousand citizens there are 2.5 divorces per year, with a marriage rate of 3.6. Every tenth adult male in Hungary is divorced, and 12.4% of women have experienced unsuccessful marriages. nine0003

These figures are by no means optimistic. Experts from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development opined that the ease with which the courts handle this procedure contributes to the increase in the number of divorces in Hungary, and that therefore young couples get divorced literally because of every trifle.

9. Sweden

The Scandinavian countries have always been "famous" for high divorce rates, but recently the situation here can only be called threatening. The "record" number of divorces - 25,100 - was registered in Sweden in 2013. And more than 100 of these broken marriages lasted less than a year. nine0003

The Swedish Divorce Act made the procedure much easier in 1974, and since then the number of divorces has increased by several thousand every year.

Today's statistics state that about 47% of marriages in this country end in divorce. Researcher Glenn Sandström sees one reason as a powerful welfare system that makes it easy for women to cope financially without a husband, even when they are at their most vulnerable or helpless. As evidence, the researcher cites almost coinciding curves for the growth of the level of social security and the growth of divorces. nine0003

8. Czech Republic

In 1960, the divorce rate in the Czech Republic was 16%. In 2005, it was already 50%, which brought the Czech Republic into the ranks of countries with the highest values ​​of this coefficient. Today, the sad coefficient reaches 66%. Jitya Rychtarikova, professor of demography at Charles University, attributes this rapid increase in divorces to the fact that after World War II, Czech women began to massively abandon the career of housewives and go to work on an equal basis with men. The higher the financial independence of the spouses from each other, the less strong the bonds of marriage become. Richtarikova also cites data showing that the percentage of divorces in families with a low level of education exceeds that of intelligent families. nine0003

7. Portugal

The National Institute of Statistics reports that in Portugal the increase in divorces is strongly associated with a decrease in the birth rate. Today, the divorce rate for this country reaches 68%, which puts it in second place in the European Union. More than 70 families break up every day in Portugal.

6. Ukraine

In Ukraine, 42% of all marriages ended in divorce. Statistics show that people get married here more often than in other European countries, but they also get divorced with incredible speed. At the same time, almost a quarter of marriages break up due to the banal alcoholism of one or both spouses. Another factor that massively destroys families is financial hardship and low living standards. nine0003

The presence of children does not deter parents from divorce, so today the number of incomplete families is about 20%. The divorce procedure itself in Ukraine is incredibly simple, and the amount of alimony that must be paid for the maintenance of a child is very small (less than $ 50 per month), which also does not create practically any significant obstacles to divorce.

5. USA

The US divorce rate is 53% and has been rising over the years. Especially many divorces were registered in the 40s and 70s of the last century. The beginning of the new millennium was also marked by the rapid growth of this sad statistics. Moreover, in the United States, an interesting phenomenon is observed: those people who were once already married are especially often divorced. The ratio is as follows: about 41% of first marriages break up, 60% of second marriages, and 73% of third marriages. Surprisingly, it seems that people do not learn from their mistakes at all. nine0003

The main causes of divorce in the United States are: financial difficulties, physical and mental violence in the family, loss of interest of spouses to each other, betrayal.

4. Russia

Unfortunately, Russia is also one of the countries with the highest divorce rate. For our country, the coefficient is 51%. And the growth dynamics of this indicator is simply depressing. If ten years ago every third married couple got divorced in Russia, today it is every second. In 2012, Russia generally took the place of the world leader, but, fortunately, not for long. nine0003

The main obstacles to a long family life in Russia are the lack of housing, financial difficulties and alcoholism. Poor living conditions can really quickly destroy even the strongest feelings. After all, if the number of rooms in an apartment is less than the number of people living in it (and in such conditions there are most Russian families), then the spouses simply have nowhere to retire, and in this case there can be no question of any normal family life.

3. Belgium

In Belgium, whose citizens are considered among the richest in the European Union, the severity of the housing problem is much lower than in Russia, but there are significantly more divorces. Here the value of the coefficient rises to a record 71%. In this case, experts complain about too high a standard of living and too powerful social protection, in which people simply do not need each other and immediately disperse at the slightest cooling of feelings. In the 1970s, when there were no such numerous and generous social programs in the country, the divorce rate was only 9.2%. Today, there are so many divorces that at the philistine level they are already perceived as a completely natural and by no means a dramatic event.

2. Belarus

Many statistics place Belarus in second place in the world in terms of divorce rates. The coefficient here reaches a value of 68%. The abortion rate here is also one of the highest in the world. In Belarus, many explain this situation by the mass loss of faith in God and the departure from traditional religious values. Indeed, more than 40% of the country's citizens consider themselves atheists, so the urgent calls of the church to keep the family at all costs and completely abandon abortions do not arouse much enthusiasm in them. nine0003

1. Maldives

In terms of population, this island state ranks 175th in the world, but in terms of divorce rate it is one of the first, bypassing both huge Russia and Belarus. Currently, the number of divorces in this country is greater than ever. And this is especially surprising, since the dominant religion in the country is Islam, whose followers, as you know, are more committed to preserving the family. Despite the fact that the dissolution of a Muslim marriage has always been surprisingly simple (it is enough to say “talaq” three times, and the marriage is considered annulled), Islam has an extremely negative attitude towards divorce, and Muslim countries lag far behind all others in this indicator. But the Maldives for some reason take a kind of revenge. nine0003

See also: What people do to avoid marriage

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Is America a country of divorces?

Every fourth marriage in America breaks up before its fifth anniversary. In the UK, this happens 4 times less often, and in Italy - 7 times less often. Such disappointing conclusions were reached by American sociologists who conducted a study of the state of the institution of marriage in the United States. nine0003

The study was led by Andrew Cherlin, Professor of Sociology and Public Policy. He has been studying the problem of marriages and their consequences for a long time and seriously - he has been dealing with the issues of the American family for 30 years, he has written 5 books on this topic. In his most recent book, The Marriage Carousel - The State of Marriage and Families in America Today, Cherlin argues that American society needs to "slow down" and rethink how partners live together.
“People in the USA get married much more often and earlier than in Europe. Divorce, in the end, they are also more often. Then they have new partners. As a result, the “spousal turnover” in American families is very high,” emphasizes Andrew Cherlin. nine0003

In his opinion, this affects children the most, 40 percent of whom are divorced by their 15th birthday.

“After that, new people appear in the house, then they leave and new ones come. By the age of 15, an American child of divorced parents living with his mother already has experience with at least three “fathers” in the process of choosing a new husband for the mother, ”says Andrew Cherlin.

Studies have shown that divorces occur most often in families with a university education. Partners have a feeling that the husband or wife does not meet their social expectations. According to sociologists, American women with higher education by the age of 35 have the experience of serious cohabitation with more than three partners. nine0003

Psychological models: family values ​​versus individualism

Scientists explain such trends in American society by two psychological models that coexist despite their apparent contradiction.

The first trend is the traditional respect for the institution of marriage in the United States. The modern pan-European trend, according to which marriage is considered old-fashioned and not very relevant, has not taken root in America. To the question “Do you consider marriage an obsolete phenomenon?” only 10 percent of Americans answered positively - against 20 percent of Swedes and 36 percent of the French. nine0003

This trend, according to Andrew Cherlin, is in conflict with the cultural model of individualism, which is one of the founding American social traditions.

“In the minds of Americans, everything is now a little mixed up,” says Cherlin, “for the majority, family values ​​are cultivated along with the values ​​of individual development and growth. American society is unique in that we treat the issues of self-expression and traditionalism in its classical sense with the same trepidation - this is not the case in any developed European country. nine0003

People in the US get married much earlier than in Europe, and if they fail the first time, they try to "fix the success" in their second and subsequent marriages. According to scientists, the fact that marriages are encouraged by the church, with which Americans compare their life plans much more often than Europeans, plays an important role in this. According to the study, 60 percent of Americans go to church regularly, surpassed only by Ireland in Europe. In the church, many US citizens draw marriage "inspiration". nine0003

“Religious Americans are still getting divorced more than godless Swedes,” jokes Andrew Cherlin, comparing church attendance and divorce rates in Sweden.

Cherlin himself has a divorce after 17 years of living together with his first wife and a second marriage.

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