Real Divorce Rates at Home & Abroad

Aug 8, 2012 by

Although the United States still has the highest rate of divorce in the world today, many sub-groups within the population have more stable relationships and lower divorce rates than the national averages.

It can be difficult to get accurate information on the true divorce rate here in America and the rest of the world because there seem to be many conflicting reports as to what the actual rates really are. Depending on where you get your news, the rates can be quite different. One often quoted estimate is that the divorce rate in America is right around 50%, meaning fully half of all marriages on this country are doomed to fail. However, that over-simplified estimate is not accurate when one looks a little deeper at the different segments and age groups within the total count.

Many different factors contribute to the divorce rate including divorce laws, economics, differing age groups, ethnicity and religion and other similar divisions. Looking at the latest numbers generated from the recent Census as well as lawyers groups like the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, shows that the divorce rate in the United States is probably the most understandable and accurate when broken out in numbers according to age and sex. Here’s how those number s look today:

Age at marriage and percentage of divorce by sex ““

Age Women Men
Under 20 years old 27.6% 11.7%
20 to 24 years old 36.6% 38.8%
25 to 29 years old 16.4% 22.3%
30 to 34 years old 8.5% 11.6%
35 to 39 years old 5.1% 6.5%

The divorce rates for first marriages compared to second or third marriages shake out a little bit differently, and of course, they also vary depending on whose numbers you use. However, several sources that seem to reflect similar percentages indicate that the current average divorce rates for multiple marriages in the United States are the following:

The national divorce rate for a first marriage is 41 to 50%.
The national divorce rate for second marriages is 60 to 67%.
The national divorce rate for third marriages is 70 to 74%.

One more additional factor that seems to make a significant difference in the divorce rate is whether or not a couple has any children, with childlessness now being a recognized as a possible cause of divorce in the first place and studies now confirm that nearly 67% of all divorced couples in the United States are childless.

When it comes to the divorce rates for different nations around the globe, the United States still tops most every chart you’ll see, and other developed nations hold many of the top spots too. Here’s how a look at the Top Ten nations with the highest divorce rates looks today:

Rank Country Divorces per 1000

# 1 United States: 4.95 per 1,000 people
# 2 Puerto Rico: 4.47 per 1,000 people
# 3 Russia: 3.36 per 1,000 people
# 4 United Kingdom: 3.08 per 1,000 people
# 5 Denmark: 2.81 per 1,000 people
# 6 New Zealand: 2.63 per 1,000 people
# 7 Australia: 2.52 per 1,000 people
# 8 Canada: 2.46 per 1,000 people
# 9 Finland: 1.85 per 1,000 people
# 10 Barbados: 1.21 per 1,000 people

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