Divorce is a legal process that exists in most countries today, though other issues usually go hand in hand with a divorce. Examples of such items involve child custody, child support, financial support of the former spouse, and distribution of property, to name but a few.
We decided to compile some of the most interesting and unexpected divorce statistics, so keep reading.
Fascinating Divorce Facts in the US (Editor’s Pick)
- Nevada has the highest divorce rates in the US, whereas Iowa has the lowest.
- Couples are more likely to break up if only one of the partners is a heavy drinker and the other is not than they are if both partners have the same drinking habits.
- Marriage divorce statistics reveal that roughly every 36 seconds, there is a divorce occurring somewhere in the US.
- Approximately 30% of all custodial fathers have child support agreements, compared to more than 50% of custodial mothers.
- There were only 0.3 divorces for every 1,000 Americans between 1867 and 1879.
- A couple currently going through their first divorce is aged 30 on average.
- In the US, experts today put your chances at getting divorced at 39%, in comparison to the mythical 50% back in the 1980s.
- 8% of parents living in poverty are married, while 16% are merely cohabiting.
- UN statistics on divorce suggest the US has the third-highest divorce rate in the world.
General Statistics On Divorces
1. Couples are more likely to break up if only one of the partners is a heavy drinker and the other is not than they are if both partners having the same drinking habits.
While it’s no secret that the happiness of marital couples can significantly depend on alcohol drinking habits, few could predict in what way. According to a study by the University of Buffalo Research Institute on Addictions, a divorce occurred among almost 50% of couples in which just one of the partners used alcohol heavily.
At the same time, when both partners were either heavy drinkers or neither one was, only 30% divorced in the same study period.
In other words:
When it comes to stats on divorce, the couples who share similar drinking habits are more likely to stay married.
2. The current divorce rate in the US is 3.2 per 1,000 population.
According to CDC divorce rates, 2014 is the latest year of available data, with 44 states and the District of Columbia reporting. The previously mentioned stat is what's called the "crude divorce rate."
On the one hand, this rate doesn't provide precise information regarding the percentage of first marriages that end in divorce. On the other, it is still useful when it comes to describing changes in divorce rates over some time. Yet, many experts feel that the divorce rate per 1,000 married women is a much more accurate measure of the actual divorce rate.
Currently, the figure stands at 16.9.
3. Close to 9% of 30-year-olds had already ended one marriage in 2018.
Furthermore, divorce statistics 2018 reveal that 41.6% of respondents were at age 62 and were already either married multiple times, separated or divorced, according to the Minnesota Population Center’s Integrated Public Microdata Sample project.
That being said:
A very close 42.3% of 62-year-olds reported being still in their first marriage. There were more interesting findings of this study, mind you.
For example, respondents who were in their mid-40s and older were much more likely to be in a later marriage, separated or divorced in 2018 in comparison to people of equivalent age during previous decades (especially the 1960s and 1980s).
4. In the US, experts put your chances of getting divorced at 39%, in comparison to the mythical 50% back in the 1980s.
The question of how many marriages end in divorce is one that people across the US continuously ask. There’s a good reason for that, considering you’ve probably heard about the infamous half all marriages end in divorce misinformation.
While this scary stat did hold at one point (during the 1980s), it's far from being representative today. The decline in divorce rates today is mostly due to Millennials, who seem to be making their marital vows hold much more often than their parents.
Still, young people in 2016 were 18% less likely to go through a divorce in comparison to their 2008 counterparts. However, the most significant reason for the steady decline of divorces since the 1980s is the fact that marriage is becoming more selective among Millennials.
5. United Nations’ statistics on divorces suggest that the US divorce rate is the third-highest in the world.
Furthermore, the average marriage length for first-timers is eight years before a divorce.
Additionally, second marriages that end in a divorce also usually last just shy of eight years. Interestingly, as much as 60% of those who marry for the second time also suffer a divorce.
6. Nevada has the highest divorce rates in the US, and Iowa has the lowest.
When it comes to the highest divorce rate in the United States, Nevada is at number one, with 5.6 divorces per 1,000 people (crude rate). Iowa, on the other hand, only records 2.4 divorces for every 1,000 persons, according to the CDC.
Additionally, states with the highest divorce rate include Arkansas, Oklahoma, and West Virginia (5.3, 5.2, and 5.2, respectively).
In contrast, states like Illinois, Massachusetts, North Dakota, and Pennsylvania are examples of areas with the lowest rates in the U.S. (2.6, 2.7., 2.7, and 2.8 per 1,000 people, respectively).
However, you should also keep in mind that states such as Minnesota, Louisiana, Indiana, Hawaii, Georgia, and California don't report their divorce statistics to the CDC. So, you should take the previously mentioned information with a tiny reserve.
7. In 2018, more than 1 million women went through a divorce in the US, divorce facts reveal.
The exact number, according to a study by Bowling Green State University, amounted to 1,050,599. The same report also reveals that, in the same year, the divorce rate continued to decline until it reached a 40-year-low.
8. The prevalence of divorce for people over the age of 45 continues to be on the rise since the 1990s, according to divorce statistics in America.
Per the University of Maryland professor Philip Cohen, in the same period, the prevalence of divorce for people younger than 45 similarly appears to level off. Because Americans, in general, have become more accepting of not only living together before marriage but also getting divorced in general, the drop in prevalence appears all the more remarkable.
Professor Cohen’s study found that factors such as having own children in the household, being under 25 years of age, having BA degrees or higher education, and being in a first marriage are all among the top reasons for divorce statistics. Simultaneously, the study also predicts a continuation in the decline of the divorce rate in the United States.
9. Marriage divorce statistics reveal that there is a divorce occurring somewhere in the US roughly every 36 seconds.
Furthermore, this statistic translates into almost 2,400 divorces taking place every single day in the country.
You can take the math even further:
Whether you want to present the number as 16,800 divorces weekly or 876,000 divorces on a yearly level, it still amounts to quite a few people permanently separating.
But there's another way to observe this remarkable fact. When looking at first marriages only, the current divorce rate is 41%. The percentage goes up significantly if we're talking about second marriages, where divorces happen in 60% of the cases. Lastly, 73% of third marriages end up in a divorce, which is saying something.
10. There were as few as 0.3 divorces for every 1,000 Americans between 1867 and 1879.
It’s no secret that marriage and divorce statistics offer a very intriguing insight into the behavior of people looking to spend their lives with a partner. While this behavior has been around since pretty much the dawn of time, there is something slightly surprising about the whole topic.
For example, people often married to move social class or gain property rights in earlier centuries. However, the ideas of romance and love took over as the main reasons to wed by the mid-to-late 1800s.
At the same time, getting married for a different reason doesn’t equate to staying married:
In 1879, only 17,000 Americans became divorced, which was an increase from merely 10,000 throughout all of 1867. Divorce percentages show that, as time progressed, the annual divorce rate steadily rose to 0.7 divorces for every 1,000 persons for the rest of the century.
Unhappy couples would not legally get divorced but would often separate in the 19th century, as divorce was generally considered taboo. So, it was quite rare.
11. Approximately 30% of all custodial fathers have child support agreements, in comparison to more than 50% of custodial mothers.
Children of divorce statistics are equally grim, with more than 13.4 million parents living separately in 2018 from the other parent with children under 21. Mothers comprise five out of every six custodial parents, and half of those are child support recipients.
As of 2010, the average monthly child support payment in the US amounted to $430. However, this figure is known to vary greatly depending on the incomes of both the custodial and noncustodial parents.
12. A couple currently going through their first divorce is aged 30 on average.
When observing divorce statistics by age, people between 25 and 39 years old comprise 60% of all divorces in the United States. In 66% of the cases, the wives are the ones who file for divorce, though the figure has risen to 75% in recent years.
Similarly, 15% of adult women in the US are either separated or divorced, in comparison to less than 1% back in 1920. A quarter of Americans 18 years old or younger have gone through some form of marital split regardless of whether they have been married or not.
13. 8% of parents living in poverty are married, while 16% of parents are merely cohabiting.
According to a Pew Research study, 27% of solo parents live below the poverty line. The divorce rate in America 2019 is still high considering everything aforementioned, but the situation becomes direr when there are children involved.
The same study also reports that, by age 9, more than 50% of children born to cohabiting parents will endure a parental breakup. This stat is in stark comparison to children born within a marriage, where the ratio is only one-in-five. Moreover, there is also a 50-50 chance that a cohabiting couple has a child by accident, according to a Brookings Institute analysis.
14. Communication problems are among the top 5 reasons for divorce statistics.
When it comes to the top reasons for divorce statistics, you've probably heard of celebrities and other prominent public figures stating "irreconcilable differences" as the most typical reason for ending a marriage.
While this may be true or not when it comes to such prominent public persons, statistics show that the top reasons for ending a marriage are slightly different. Examples include loss of interest, physical, emotional and psychological abuse, financial problems, as well as betrayal or infidelity.
Cumulatively speaking, one in every four families today face a divorce, and around 6% of American couples marry, divorce, and then end up re-marrying each other again. This is why the US market size of family and divorce lawyers reached an all-time high in 2021 at $11.9 billion.
Divorce statistics suggest that the divorce rate has declined considerably in the 21st century.
The thing is:
The number of divorces is steadily decreasing all over the US, although Minnesota, Louisiana, Hawaii, Georgia, and California have all stopped reporting divorce rates since 2000.
At the same time:
Older generations continue to get divorced, though a smaller number of Millennials continue to get married in contrast.
So, the divorce rates have similarly declined as a result of the younger generation approaching marriage differently and getting married later in life, as seen from the previously mentioned divorce stats.