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Divorce Statistics in Florida

By Divorce.com staff
Updated Feb 13, 2024

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Florida is renowned for its golden beaches and sunny weather. However, the state also stands out for its divorce and marriage rates, which differ from the national median.

divorce trends florida

In this article, we'll delve into the details and examine how the latest trends in divorce and marriage are linked to Florida's key demographic data.

Key Takeaways

  • Declining Divorce Rates: Over the past decade, Florida has seen a general decline in divorce rates, with a 24.4% decrease from 2011 to 2021.
  • Influence of Ethnicity: Ethnic composition, especially in counties like Pinellas, plays a role in divorce rates. For instance, the American Indian population, though not numerous, had the highest divorce rate in the state.
  • Religious Impact: Religious affiliations, particularly among Conservative Protestants, have a noticeable influence on divorce rates in Florida.
  • Marriage Trends: Florida's overall marriage rate is among the ten lowest in the U.S., with men marrying at a slightly higher rate than women.
  • Same-Sex Marriages: Introduced in 2015, same-sex marriages constituted 1.2% of all married couples in Florida by the time of the article.
  • Age of Marriage: The average age of marriage in Florida closely aligns with the U.S. median, with men marrying around 30.4 years and women at 28.5 years.

Divorce Rate in Florida

The divorce rate in Florida, at 3.4 per 1,000 population, is among the highest in the U.S. In fact, it ranks fifth, following Nevada, Alabama, Arkansas and Oklahoma.

Divorce Rate in Florida

Divorce Rate by Year in Florida

Divorce Rate by Year in Florida
  • 2021 – 3.4
  • 2020 – 3.0
  • 2019 – 3.5
  • 2018 – 3.6
  • 2017 – 3.6
  • 2016 – 3.9
  • 2015 – 4.0
  • 2014 – 4.0
  • 2013 – 4.1
  • 2012 – 4.2
  • 2011 – 4.5
  • 2010 – 4.4

  • Trend Over the Years: The data shows a general decline in the divorce rate in Florida over the past decade. Starting from 4.5 per 1,000 population in 2011, it decreased to 3.4 in 2021. This represents a decline of 24.4% over the 11-year period.
  • Steepest Decline: The steepest decline occurred between 2011 and 2012 when the rate dropped from 4.5 to 4.2, a decrease of 0.3. Another notable decline was between 2016 and 2017, dropping from 3.9 to 3.6.
  • Periods of Stability: The divorce rate remained stable at 4.0 for two consecutive years (2015 and 2014). Similarly, it remained stable at 3.6 for two years (2018 and 2017).
  • Slight Increase: There was a slight increase in the divorce rate from 2019 to 2020, moving from 3.5 to 3.0. However, it increased again in 2021 to 3.4.
  • Highest and Lowest Rates: The highest divorce rate over this period was 4.5 in 2011, while the lowest was 3.0 in 2020.

In summary, Florida's divorce rate has generally been on a downward trend over the past decade, with a few years of stability and a slight uptick in recent years. The reasons for these trends could be multifaceted, including economic factors, societal changes, or policy shifts.

There is also a disparity in the percentage of divorced men and women in Florida. For example, in any given year, men typically have a lower divorce rate than women.

percentages of divorced men and women florida

Who Files for Divorce More in Florida

Women initiate more divorces than men - around 69%, and for a few reasons.

A Florida couples therapist Gilza Fort-Martinez believes that women have a higher emotional intelligence level and often feel unsupported in marriage. They are also more perceptive and, thus, are the first to notice red flags in relationships.

Fort-Martinez notes that women shoulder more responsibilities in marriage than men, who usually benefit from marriage. Instead, women often feel overwhelmed by child-rearing and housework on top of their full-time jobs, making the idea of a single life more appealing.

What is the Most Common Reason for Divorce in Florida

Florida laws allow only two reasons to get a divorce, and both are no-fault: irretrievable breakdown of the marriage and mental incapacity. So, even if one spouse has cheated on the other, it won’t be a legal ground for divorce.

However, adultery is a prevalent reason for marriage dissolution. For instance, researchers from Florida State University estimate that 20-25% of married couples experience infidelity at some point.

Percentage of the Population that is Divorced in Florida Counties

The statistics show that the percentage of divorces varies significantly from county to county. Let’s look at the most densely populated ones.

divorced population in Florida counties

The statistics show that the percentage of divorces varies significantly from county to county. Let’s look at the most densely populated ones.

  • Miami-Dade County – 12.8%
  • Broward County – 13.4%
  • Palm Beach County – 12.7%
  • Hillsborough County – 12.5%
  • Orange County – 11.2%
  • Duval County – 14.0%
  • Pinellas County – 15.5%
  • Lee County – 13.0%
  • Polk County – 12.4%
  • Brevard County – 14.0%
  • Pasco County – 13.0%
  • Volusia County – 15.1%
  • Seminole County – 11.8%
  • Sarasota County – 13.6%
  • Osceola County – 12.6%
  • Manatee County – 12.9%
  • Lake County – 12.0%
  • Collier County – 12.4%
  • Marion County – 13.0%
  • St. Lucie County – 13.2%
  • St. Johns County – 11.7%
  • Alachua County – 10.3%

A County with the Highest Percentage of Divorced Population

Pinellas County in Florida boasts the highest percentage of divorced individuals at 15.5%, with a population of approximately 958 thousand residents. Furthermore, men in this county divorce less frequently than women, with rates of 13.2% compared to 17.6%.

A County with the Highest Percentage of Divorced Population

Numerous factors could influence the divorce rates in this county. Several theories posit that ethnic composition might impact the divorce rate, as certain ethnic groups tend to have higher divorce rates than others.

For example, Pinellas County's population consists of 80% White individuals and 10% Black or African Americans, and it exhibits higher divorce rates among other racial groups.

A County with the Lowest Percentage of Divorced Population

In Florida, Alachua County has the smallest percentage of divorced individuals, standing at just 10.3%. The divorce rates for men and women in this county differ, with 8.7% for men and 11.7% for women.

A County with the Lowest Percentage of Divorced Population

Additionally, in Alachua County, the age group with the fewest divorces is the 20 to 34-year-olds. This reduced rate might be attributed to individuals in this age bracket marrying at half the rate of those in other age groups.

Divorce Statistics for Families With Kids in Florida

According to the 5-year estimate tables from census.gov, in 2021, 14.5% of divorced men and 32.7% of divorced women had minor children in their households.

While Florida laws are gender-neutral in awarding child custody, women are twice as likely as men to be granted primary guardianship. Additionally, let's examine the number of single-parent households in selected counties in Florida for 2021.

Overall, the data indicates that 30 to 40% of families in Florida are headed by single parents.

  • Alachua County – 33%
  • Baker County – 33%
  • Bay County – 36%
  • Brevard County – 31%
  • Broward County – 36%
  • Hillsborough County – 36%
  • Jackson County – 40%
  • Jefferson County – 26%
  • Liberty County – 50%
  • Orange County – 33%
  • Osceola County – 36%

Divorce Statistics by Ethnicity in Florida

The dominant ethnic groups in Florida are White (71.6%), Black or African American (15.9%), and Asian (2.78%). Each has its own divorce tendencies, influencing the state’s overall divorce rate.

The 2021 survey by the U.S. Census collected exact percentages for each ethnic group in Florida. It turned out that the American Indian population, although not numerous, had the highest divorce rate.

The lowest rates are among Native Hawaiians and Asians.

Divorce Statistics by Ethnicity in Florida
  • White – 13.2%
  • Black or African American – 12%
  • American Indian – 13.9%
  • Asian – 6.8%
  • Native Hawaiian – 5.6%
  • Hispanic or Latino origin – 11.9%
  • Two or more races – 12.2%

Divorce Statistics by Religion in Florida

Religious affiliation can be another factor influencing divorce. The religious composition in Florida is 70% Christians, most of whom are Evangelical Protestants and Catholics.

Conservative Protestants usually have high divorce rates. Some researchers explain it by lower incomes and earlier family formation among them.

Divorce Statistics by Religion in Florida

The percentage of the divorced population for selected religious groups is as follows.

  • Catholics – 14%
  • Evangelical Protestants – 15%
  • Mainline Protestants – 19%
  • Historically Black Protestants – 22%
  • Unaffiliated (religious nones) – 13%

Marriage Statistics in Florida

The current marriage rate in Florida is 6.8 per 1,000 inhabitants.

Overall, the percentage of married individuals in Florida has remained consistent since 2010, averaging around 46%. In the years 2022-2023, men in Florida have married at a higher rate than women.

For instance, the current percentage of married men is 48.7%. In contrast, the percentage of married women in Florida stands at approximately 44.5%.

Marriage Statistics in Florida

Here are a few interesting facts about marriage in Florida:

  • The average length of the first marriage in Florida is 20.4 years.
  • Men get married more often than women in Florida.
  • Asian (60.2%) and Native Hawaiian (51.1%) groups have the highest marriage rates among other ethnicities. Black or African Americans marry the least often - 31.7%.
  • Same-sex marriages constituted 1.2% of all married people in Florida.
  • The rate of interracial marriage in Florida is 19% on average.

Average Age of Marriage in Florida

Residents of Florida get married at ages similar to the U.S. medians. For instance, the U.S. average age at first marriage is 30.6 for men and 28.6 for women. In comparison, men in Florida start a family at 30.4 years, and women marry at 28.5, according to research.

The percentage of married men is the highest after they get 35 years old. On the other hand, the share of married women is rising during their 50s and decreases in their 60s and 70s, which can be partly attributed to women’s higher life expectancy.

Here’s the distribution of married people in Florida by gender and age.

percentages of married people in Florida by age

Average Length of Marriage in Florida

The median length of marriage in Florida is close to the national average. For instance, the average U.S. marriage lasts for 21 years if it’s the first time for both spouses. The second marriage averages 17 years, while the third lasts 13 years.

Average Length of Marriage in Florida

Florida’s couples live in marriage for 20.4 years on average.

The length of the marriage is essential for alimony calculations in case of divorce. In particular, if the marriage lasts more than 17 years, the courts may award permanent alimony to one spouse.

Marriage Statistics by Year in Florida

From 2014 to 2021, there's been a gradual upward trend in the percentage of the married population in Florida, increasing from 45.8% to 47.4%. While there were minor fluctuations in certain years, the overall increase over this 7-year period was 1.6%.

Marriage Statistics by Year in Florida
  • 2021 – 47.4%
  • 2020 – 46.4%
  • 2019 – 45.9%
  • 2018 – 45.8%
  • 2017 – 46.1%
  • 2016 – 45.8%
  • 2015 – 45.5%
  • 2014 – 45.8%

The difference between the men’s and women’s marriage rates by year is noticeable in Florida. In particular, men get married more often than women.

percentages of married men and women in Florida

Marriage Statistics in Florida Counties

When analyzing the percentage of marriages in the largest counties in Florida, Sumter County emerges with the highest marriage rate at 62%. On the other hand, Alachua County registers the lowest marriage rate in the state, standing at 36.1%.

  • Miami-Dade County – 42%
  • Broward County – 43.2%
  • Palm Beach County – 46.4%
  • Hillsborough County – 44.7%
  • Orange County – 43.2%
  • Duval County – 42.6%
  • Pinellas County – 44.6%
  • Lee County – 50.9%
  • Polk County – 46.1%
  • Brevard County – 49.6%
  • Pasco County – 50.4%
  • Volusia County – 47.1%
  • Seminole County – 49.9%
  • Sarasota County – 54.4%
  • Osceola County – 43.8%
  • Manatee County – 51.1%
  • Lake County – 53.7%
  • Collier County – 54.3%
  • Marion County – 49.8%
  • St. Lucie County – 49.5%
  • Sumter County – 62%
  • St. Johns County – 56.8%
  • Alachua County – 36.1%

Same-Sex Marriage Statistics in Florida

Same-sex marriages were legalized in Florida on January 6, 2015. At that time, same-sex couples made up 1.2% of coupled households in the state.

Same-Sex Marriage Statistics in Florida

In 2021, there were 63,127 same-sex married families. This represents a significant increase from 2020 when the number stood at 46,552 same-sex married couples.

According to Census.gov, 59% of these unions are between male spouses, while 41% consist of female spouses.

Rates for Civil Unions in Florida

Unregistered civil unions are not recognized in Florida, and people in such couples do not receive any rights similar to married spouses.

However, Florida provides an option of a domestic partnership for those who do not wish to marry in a traditional way but want to stay in a committed relationship.

Below are a few brief statistics for people living outside of bonds of traditional marriage in Florida.

Rates for Civil Unions in Florida
  • Cohabiting couples in total - 639,028
  • Opposite-sex - 599,734
  • Same-sex (male) - 21,928
  • Same-sex (female) - 17,366

Final Thoughts

Florida's marital landscape is a blend of diverse influences, from ethnicity and religion to gender dynamics. While the state's divorce rate has generally declined over the past decade, variations exist across counties. The introduction of same-sex marriages in 2015 added a fresh dimension to these statistics.

Notably, Florida's overall marriage rate remains among the lowest in the U.S., with age and religious affiliations playing significant roles.

As societal and economic factors evolve, Florida's relationship trends will undoubtedly continue to shift, offering intriguing insights into the state's changing dynamics.

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