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Divorce Rates and Statistics in America

Know About the Alarming Divorce Rates and Statistics in America

The United States of America has been the leading country when it comes to the number of divorces that occur throughout the world. This Buzzle article throws light on the statistical facts about the divorce rates in America.
Shalu Bhatti
"American husbands are the best in the world; no other husbands are so generous to their wives, or can be so easily divorced."
― Elinor Glyn
We believe Elinor Glyn must have done a lot of research before quoting this statement because she is so right! Did you know that the United States of America tops the list of the countries with most divorces? It also has the record of the most expensive divorce settlement ever given by a celebrity. Yes, and this record-holder is none other than the American actor, Mel Gibson, who paid a whopping $425 Million to his ex-wife, Robyn Gibson.

Various studies on the subject reflect that approximately fifty percent marriages in the nation end in courtrooms! The main reasons for the same, as per studies, include: Lack of education, poverty, marrying at a young age, premarital cohabitation, premarital pregnancy/childbearing, divorce history in the family, and, interestingly, no religious affiliation. The problem is that a majority of Americans believe that divorce is a normal and an acceptable option, to escape the differences and troubles that marriages bring about. This is the reason why many end their marriages irrespective of things being fixable. According to a survey, it was found that a high percentage of divorced individuals-almost fifty percent-stated that they wished they or their ex-spouse had put in some extra effort to make their marriage work.

Statistical Data on Divorces in America

Provisional number of divorces and annulments and rate: United States, 2000-2011

Year Divorces & annulments Population Rate per 1,000 total population
2012 [1] 851,000 248,041,986 3.4
2011 [1] 877,000 246,273,366 3.6
2010 [1] 872,000 244,122,529 3.6
2009 [1] 840,000 242,610,561 3.5
2008 [1] 844,000 240,545,163 3.5
2007 [1] 856,000 238,352,850 3.6
2006 [1] 872,000 236,094,277 3.7
2005 [1] 847,000 233,495,163 3.6
2004 [2] 879,000 236,402,656 3.7
2003 [3] 927,000 243,902,090 3.8
2002 [4] 955,000 243,108,303 3.9
2001 [5] 940,000 236,416,762 4.0
2000 [5] 944,000 233,550,143 4.0

Source 
:  CDC/NCHS National Vital Statistics System

1 Excludes data for California, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Louisiana, and Minnesota.
2 Excludes data for California, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, and Louisiana.
3 Excludes data for California, Hawaii, Indiana, and Oklahoma.
4 Excludes data for California, Indiana, and Oklahoma.
5 Excludes data for California, Indiana, Louisiana, and Oklahoma.

➤ According to a 2011 study, the number of marriages in the United States were 2,118,000, with a divorce rate of 3.6 per 1,000 population (44 reporting States and D.C.).
― National Marriage and Divorce Rate Trends

➤ One divorce occurs approximately in every 36 seconds. That amounts to 2,400 divorces daily; 16,800 divorces weekly; and 876,000 divorces every year.
― McKinley Irvin Family Law Firm

➤ 41% of all first marriages in America end in divorce! The number rises to 60% when it comes to second marriages, and 73% when it comes to third marriages.
― Enrichment Journal

➤ From 1975 to 1988, among the couples having children, wives filed for divorces in approximately two-thirds of cases―in 1975, 71.4%; and in 1988, 65% of the cases were filed by women.
― The National Center for Health Statistics

➤ Since the implementation of the 'no-fault divorce legislation' in America, the country has witnessed a 279-percent increase in its divorces.
― Enrichment Journal

➤ At least 66% of all the divorced couples in America are childless. This is also one of the main reasons of getting divorced, according to experts. Statistics also reveal that couples with children have lower chances of getting divorced than couples who are childless.
― Divorce Statistics Website

➤ 29% of married couples who have studied in colleges have ever divorced. However, the percentage rises to almost 50 when it comes to divorces of married couples without college degrees.
― Study by Wolfers and Betsey Stevenson

➤ Marriages that end in divorces have an average length of eight years. The average age of Americans going through the process of divorce for the first time is 30.
― McKinley Irvin Family Law Firm

Divorce Age Groups

Age Women Men
< 20 27.6% 11.7%
20 - 24 36.6% 38.8%
25 - 29 16.4% 22.3%
30 - 34 8.5% 11.6%
35 - 39 5.1% 6.5%
Source : McKinley Irvin Law Firm

➤ Couples belonging to the age group 20 to 24 experience the highest percentage of divorces―38.8 percent in men and 36.6 percent in women.
― McKinley Irvin Family Law Firm

➤ A woman losing her virginity before 18 years of age has an increased risk of getting divorced within the first 10 years of marriage.
― The University of Iowa, 2011 study

➤ Only 63% of children in America get a chance to grow up with both their biological parents!
― The State of Our Unions, 2005 Report

➤ It has been observed that kids raised without a father account for: 90 percent of the runaway and homeless children; 85 percent of the kids with behavioral disorders; 85 percent of all youths in jail; 80 percent of rapists; 75 percent of all adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers; 71 percent of the pregnant teenagers; 71 percent of all high school dropouts; 70 percent of the institutionalized juveniles; and 63 percent of youth suicides.
― Divorce source

➤ Among all married adults, 33% have gone through at least one divorce. In other words, among all 18-year-olds and older, irrespective of their marital status, 25% have been divorced.
― The Barna Group, 2008 Study

Number of divorces annually per 1,000 population in each state

State Divorce rate [1]
1999 2000 2006 2008 2010 2012
Alabama 6.1 6.0 5.7 5.5 5.4 5.4
Alaska 5.5 5.0 5.0 3.9 4.3 4.6
Arizona 6.9 6.2 4.6 4.6 4.0 4.7
Arkansas 6.9 6.3 6.2 6.4 6.2 6.2
California [2] 4.3 - - - - -
Colorado 5.5 4.8 4.7 4.7 4.7 -
Connecticut 3.2 2.9 3.0 3.3 3.2 3.3
Delaware 4.4 5.0 4.5 3.9 3.9 3.5
District of Columbia 4.5 3.2 3.6 3.2 2.9 2.4
Florida 6.3 5.5 5.1 5.1 5.2 5.1
Georgia 5.5 5.1 4.1 3.3 3.1 2.5
Hawaii 4.6 4.6 3.8 3.9 4.0 3.7
Idaho 6.5 5.8 5.4 5.5 5.3 5.3
Illinois 3.8 3.2 3.3 3.2 3.2 2.9
Indiana - - - - - -
Iowa 3.9 3.7 3.3 3.3 3.3 3.1
Kansas 5.0 4.1 3.4 3.6 3.4 3.6
Kentucky 5.8 5.9 5.5 5.1 5.1 5.2
Louisiana - - - - - -
Maine 4.3 4.4 5.1 5.0 4.7 4.6
Maryland 3.4 3.0 3.2 3.3 2.9 3.4
Massachusetts 2.8 2.2 2.5 2.5 2.4 2.5
Michigan 4.3 4.1 3.8 3.9 3.9 3.8
Minnesota 3.5 3.4 3.2 3.2 3.2 3.1
Mississippi 5.5 4.8 5.0 5.0 5.0 4.9
Missouri 5.1 5.0 4.4 4.5 4.2 4.0
Montana 5.1 4.8 2.8 4.2 4.2 4.0
Nebraska 4.0 3.8 3.7 3.7 3.6 3.6
Nevada 11.4 7.8 7.8 9.9 6.3 7.1
New Hampshire 4.7 4.2 5.1 4.8 4.4 4.3
New Jersey 3.0 3.0 3.0 3.0 3.3 3.4
New Mexico 4.9 6.6 4.6 5.1 4.9 4.4
New York 3.2 3.0 3.3 3.0 3.5 3.4
North Carolina 5.1 5.0 4.6 4.5 4.6 4.5
North Dakota 3.6 3.4 4.4 3.4 2.9 3.0
Ohio 4.7 4.3 3.9 4.2 4.0 4.0
Oklahoma - - - - - -
Oregon 5.5 4.7 4.6 4.8 4.8 4.6
Pennsylvania 3.3 3.2 3.1 3.1 3.1 3.1
Rhode Island 3.7 3.6 2.7 2.9 3.1 3.2
South Carolina 4.5 3.9 3.8 3.8 3.6 3.4
South Dakota 3.7 3.9 3.7 3.5 3.3 3.3
Tennessee 6.5 6.2 5.8 5.9 5.2 5.1
Texas 5.5 5.2 3.8 4.0 4.0 3.9
Utah 5.1 4.4 4.0 4.3 4.2 4.1
Vermont 4.5 4.7 4.4 4.1 4.3 4.2
Virginia 4.4 4.3 4.4 4.3 4.2 4.2
Washington 5.9 5.4 5.0 4.6 4.5 4.6
West Virginia 5.3 5.2 4.9 5.1 5.2 5.2
Wisconsin 3.6 3.4 3.2 3.2 3.2 3.2
Wyoming 6.6 6.6 5.7 5.8 5.8 5.4
Source :  Wikipedia

1 Includes annulments. Includes divorce petitions filed or legal separations for some counties or States.
2 Marriage data includes nonlicensed marriages registered.

➤ The state that has the highest divorces is none other than Nevada (13.9%). It's not surprising though, it houses Las Vegas! While in 2012, Arkansas was the first runner-up, according to a 2013 survey, Maine has taken the spot, with a divorce rate of 13.5%. The list continues with Oklahoma, Oregon, Arkansas, New Mexico, and Florida, each with a divorce rating of 12.9%.
― Find The Data

➤ The states with the lowest divorce rates, as per the previous source, are New Jersey (8.5%), New York (8.6%), Utah (9.2%), North Dakota (9.2%), Pennsylvania (9.3%), and Hawaii (9.4%). Yes, New York did come off as a surprise, but the marriage rate of the state is also lesser; plus, it isn't easy to get a divorce in this state as well, hence, the lower rate.
― Find The Data

➤ While the percentage of divorced or separated women in the United States in the year 1920 was less than one percent, in 2013, this percentage increased to 15 percent.
― A Report by Bowling Green State University's National Center for Marriage and Family Research (NCFMR)

➤ When based on careers and jobs, the highest number of divorces are seen among Dancers and choreographers (43.05%), Bartenders (38.43%), Massage therapists (38.22%), Gaming cage workers (34.66%) and Extruding machine operators (32.74%).
― Daily Infographic

➤ The careers/jobs that account for the lowest divorces are: Agricultural engineers (1.78%), Optometrists (4.01%), Transit police (5.26%), Clergy (5.61%), and Directors of religious activities and education (5.88%).
― Daily Infographic

➤ In case of both the genders, "the probability of divorce declines with educational attainment. The gradient, however, is steeper for men than it is for women."
― Bureau of Labor Statistics

➤ The median length of time, or gap between divorced individuals remarrying, is between 3 to 4 years. "For men and women who divorced in 1950 to 1954, the median duration to remarriage was 4 years. Since then it has remained between 3 and 4 years."
― U.S. Census Bureau

Getting a divorce not only affects the life of the married couple, but the entire family, especially the children. According to a report published in September 2013, in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, children whose parents divorce when they are very young, between the age group of 3 to 5, tend to experience difficulty in establishing close relationships with their parents when they grow up.

From the 1860s till 2010, the 1980s have seen the maximum number of divorces in the United States, as per a report published by the Minnesota Population Center. From then on, the divorce rates have dropped significantly, but many experts state that this is due to lack of reporting and a loophole in the recording process. On the flip side, there is a section that states that the increase in marriage stability is due to the fact that now, people are marrying at a later age, and keeping in mind the economic stability while taking the decision, according to The State of Our Unions, 2011 report. Irrespective, America is still leading the list of nations with most divorces.