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Divorce Statistics in Utah

By Divorce.com staff
Updated Feb 13, 2024

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Utah's divorce rates are in line with the nationwide downward trend, while its marriage rates remain relatively consistent.

In this article, we will delve into the specifics of marital status in Utah, examining how divorce and marriage rates vary among different age groups, ethnicities, religions, political affiliations, and other factors.

Continue reading to learn more.

divorce trends in Utah

Key Takeaways

  • Young Marriages: Utah stands out with one of the youngest median ages for first marriages in the U.S., with men marrying around 26.1 years and women at 24.8 years.
  • Declining Divorce Rates: Over the past decade, Utah's divorce rate has seen fluctuations but has generally been on a decline, aligning with broader U.S. trends.
  • Religious Influence: Highly religious couples in Utah are less prone to divorce, and the state's predominant Christian population, especially those of the Mormon faith, plays a significant role in marital decisions.
  • Interracial Marriages: Since the lifting of the ban on interracial marriages in 1963, Utah has seen a rise in mixed marriages, with 19% of current married couples being interracial.
  • Gender and Divorce: Historically, the majority of divorce initiations nationwide have come from women, with two-thirds or 69% of all divorces being women's initiatives.
  • Cohabitation Trends: As of 2021, there were 57,769 cohabiting couples in Utah, with 93% being opposite-sex couples and 7% being same-sex couples.

Divorce Rate in Utah

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, In 2021, Utah's divorce rate stood at 3.3 per 1,000 population. This rate reflects a broader trend in the U.S., where many states have witnessed shifts in divorce patterns over the past decade.

divorce rate in Utah

Divorce Rate by Year in Utah

The divorce rate in Utah has seen fluctuations over the past decade.

Starting in 2010, the rate was 3.7 divorces per 1,000 population, which remained consistent in 2011. The rate then slightly decreased to 3.3 in 2012, matching the rate observed in 2020 and 2021.

The lowest rates were recorded in 2013 and 2014, at 3.1 per 1,000 population. This suggests a brief period of stability in the early-mid 2010s. However, there was a noticeable uptick in 2015 and 2016, with both years recording a rate of 3.6.

Divorce Rate by Year in Utah

The highest rate in the decade was in 2018, at 3.8 per 1,000 population.

From 2019 onwards, there has been a gradual decline, with the rate dropping from 3.5 in 2019 to 3.3 in 2021. This indicates a recent trend of decreasing divorce rates in Utah, aligning with the rate observed at the start of the decade.

  • 2021 – 3.3 per 1,000 population
  • 2020 – 3.3
  • 2019 – 3.5
  • 2018 – 3.8
  • 2017 – 3.4
  • 2016 – 3.6
  • 2015 – 3.6
  • 2014 – 3.1
  • 2013 – 3.1
  • 2012 – 3.3
  • 2011 – 3.7
  • 2010 – 3.7

The percentage of divorced individuals each year was determined by taking the median value between the percentages for men and women, as these percentages typically differ.

Let's delve deeper:

percentages of divorced men and women in Utah

Who Files for Divorce More in Utah

One of the nationwide trends regarding divorces is that most marriage dissolutions are started by women. The 2015 American Sociological Association survey suggested that two-thirds, or 69% of all divorces are women’s initiatives.

Also, this number increases for college-educated women.

What is the Most Common Reason for Divorce in Utah

The most widespread reason why couples file for divorce is marital infidelity.

About 10-15% of married women and up to 25% of men cheat in their marriages. Age also makes a difference, believes Dr. N. Wolfinger. He found that 20% of spouses older than 55 are unfaithful compared to 14% of people younger than 55.

Infidelity rarely influences the divorce outcome in Utah unless it affects marital property. In this case, the courts may divide property and award alimony in favor of a non-cheating spouse.

Percentage of Divorced Population in Utah Counties

Utah consists of 29 counties. The data below shows the percentage of the divorced population for each Utah county.

Percentage of Divorced Population in Utah Counties
  • Box Elder County – 10.0%
  • Cache County – 7.0%
  • Rich County – 12.0%
  • Weber County – 14.0%
  • Davis County – 9.9%
  • Morgan County – 5.9%
  • Tooele County – 11.7%
  • Salt Lake County – 12.5%
  • Summit County – 9.5%
  • Daggett County – 10.4%
  • Wasatch County – 9.6%
  • Duchesne County – 9.1%
  • Uintah County – 13.2%
  • Utah County – 6.9%
  • Juab County – 8.5%
  • Sanpete County – 9.4%
  • Carbon County – 17.0%
  • Emery County – 8.9%
  • Grand County – 21.0%
  • Sevier County – 11.3%
  • Millard County – 8.3%
  • Beaver County – 9.0%
  • Piute County – 10.4%
  • Wayne County – 8.3%
  • San Juan County – 9.1%
  • Kane County – 12.5%
  • Iron County – 10.1%
  • Washington County – 11.3%
  • Garfield County – 10.9%

A County with the Highest Percentage of Divorced Population

Among all 29 counties in Utah, Grand County boasts the highest divorce rate at 20.9%. Furthermore, the percentage of divorced women stands at 24%, compared to 18% for men.

A County with the Highest Percentage of Divorced Population

The highest percentage of divorced women, 45.3%, falls within the 40-44 age bracket. Conversely, men most frequently divorce, at a rate of 31.7%, between the ages of 35-39.

A County with the Lowest Percentage of Divorced Population

In Utah, Morgan County has the lowest divorce rate at just 5.9%. In line with the state's gender trend, the proportion of divorced men is lower at 4%, compared to 8% for divorced women.

A County with the Lowest Percentage of Divorced Population

For women, the highest incidence of divorces, at 23.2%, occurs between the ages of 20-24. In contrast, men in Morgan County most frequently divorce, with a rate of 13.3%, when they are 30-34 years old.

Divorce Statistics for Families With Kids in Utah

Around 60% of divorced families in Utah have children under 18 years old.

According to the Census.gov 2021 data, 20.9% of children lived with their fathers after divorce, and 38.6% stayed with their mothers.

The share of single-parent families in major Utah counties in 2021 is shown below.

  • Salt Lake – 22.1%
  • Utah – 11.9%
  • Davis County – 16.9%
  • Weber – 27.3%
  • Washington County – 17.8%
  • Cache County – 17.7%
  • Tooele County – 18.6%
  • Box Elder County – 17.1%
  • Iron County – 22.9%
  • Summit County – 23.2%

Divorce Statistics by Ethnicity in Utah

The vast majority of Utah's population identifies as White, making up 85%. Other racial groups include Asian (2.3%), Black or African American (1.2%), Native American (1.1%), Native Hawaiian (0.9%), and several other categories.

Whites and Black or African Americans experience the highest percentage of the divorced population, while the Native American and Hawaiian ethnic groups record the lowest numbers of divorces.

Divorce Statistics by Ethnicity in Utah
  • White – 8.7%
  • Black or African American – 8.6%
  • Asian – 7.5%
  • American Indians and Alaska Native – 7.4%
  • Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander – 6.8%
  • Hispanic or Latino origin – 7.9%
  • Two or more races – 8.8%
  • Other races – 8%

Divorce Statistics by Religion in Utah

According to Professor Alan Hawkins from BYU's School of Family Life, highly religious couples in Utah are less prone to divorce.

Currently, 73% of Utahns identify as Christians, with 55% being members of the Mormon faith. The remaining population is either unaffiliated (22%) or follows non-Christian religions, such as Buddhism (1%) and Islam (1%).

Over recent years, divorce rates have been on the decline among religious Utahns. Hawkins attributes this trend to fewer people choosing to marry and others opting to wait longer before starting a family.

Marriage Statistics in Utah

According to state-by-state marriage statistics, Utah boasts one of the highest marriage rates in the U.S. at 55.8%. Of these married individuals, 56.1% are men and 55.4% are women.

The proportion of married individuals in Utah has seen a slight decline since 2010, when it stood at 57.3%.

Marriage Statistics in Utah

Below are a few additional facts useful to know regarding marriages in Utah:

  • Utah residents get married earlier than people in other states at 24-26 years old.
  • The average length of Utah’s marriages is comparatively low: 17.2 years.
  • 19% of married couples in Utah are interracial.
  • Almost 50% of Utah people marry between 20-34 years old.
  • The White (57.2%) and Asian (56.4%) ethnic groups have more marriages than other races. The Black or African American group has the fewest marriages, with 36%.

The Average Age of Marriage in Utah

Utah is one of four states, including Oklahoma, Idaho, and Arkansas, where people get married very young compared to other states.

The median age at first marriage in Utah is 26.1 for men and 24.8 for women, according to Bowling Green State University’s research. In comparison, the median age when most people get married in the U.S. is 30.6 (men) and 28.6 (women).

Both women and men in Utah begin marrying in significant numbers between the ages of 20 and 34. Nearly 40% of men and 50% of women are married during this period. By age 55-64, this figure rises to 70%.

The Average Length of Marriage in Utah

The average duration of marriage in Utah is among the lowest in the country - 17.2 years.

In comparison, the U.S. median length of the marriage is 21 years, according to the Bowling Green State University report. However, second and third marriages are usually shorter, at 17 and 13 years, respectively.

The Average Length of Marriage in Utah

Short marriage duration may result from different factors.

One of them could be getting married at a young age, which is 25 on average in Utah. Moreover, some studies, such as the one published in Psychology Today, show that the less risky age for divorce is between 28 and 32.

Marriage Statistics by Year in Utah

The percentage of the married population in Utah has been 55% on average throughout the last ten years.

Marriage Statistics by Year in Utah
  • 2022 – 55.8%
  • 2021 – 55.3%
  • 2020 – 55.4%
  • 2019 – 55.5%
  • 2018 – 55.4%
  • 2017 – 55.6%
  • 2016 – 54.9%
  • 2015 – 55.3%
  • 2014 – 56.3%

Same-Sex Marriage Statistics in Utah

Utah started recognizing same-sex marriages on October 6, 2014.

During the first week after that, the courts issued about 905 marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

The number of same-sex marriages has increased since then. The U.S. Census.gov tables with statistical data released yearly have the following numbers for same-sex married couples.

Same-Sex Marriage Statistics in Utah

2021

Total same-sex couples: 6,741

  • male spouses: 1,907
  • female spouses: 4,834

2020

Total same-sex couples: 5,304

  • male spouses: 2,637
  • female spouses: 2,667

The number of same-sex marriages rose by 27% between 2020 and 2021. Previously, the counts of all-male and all-female couples were nearly identical. However, in 2021, marriages between women outnumbered those between men by more than double.

Statistics for Civil Unions in Utah

As of 2021, a Census.gov report indicated that there were 57,769 cohabiting couples in Utah. Of these, 93% were opposite-sex couples, while 7% consisted of same-sex partners.

Statistics for Civil Unions in Utah
  • Cohabiting couples in total - 57,769
  • Opposite-sex - 54,012
  • Same-sex (male) - 2,479
  • Same-sex (female) - 1,278

There’s no common-law marriage in Utah.

Still, cohabiting couples can ask the court to recognize their union as a domestic (civil) partnership. Utah state laws require that these couples go through a specific verifying procedure.

At the same time, civil unions do not copy marriages regarding rights and responsibilities, so not all partners switch from simple cohabiting to a civil partnership (marriage).

Interracial Marriage Statistics in Utah

After the ban on interracial marriages was lifted in Utah in 1963, there was a rise in the number of mixed-marriage couples. For instance, in 2010, Utah's interracial marriage rate stood at 6.5%. However, this was below the national average of 10%, as reported by the U.S. Census.

Today, the national rate for interracial marriages is approximately 17%. In contrast, Utah's average rate for such marriages is currently 19%, determined by taking the median value across its metro areas.

Final Thoughts

Utah's marital landscape is both unique and evolving. With a rich history influenced by religious beliefs, the state has seen shifts in marriage and divorce patterns over the years. While Utah maintains one of the highest marriage rates in the U.S., it's noteworthy that the age of marriage is younger compared to most states.

The increasing acceptance of interracial marriages and the changing dynamics of religious influence on marital decisions further highlight the state's adaptability to societal changes. As Utah continues to evolve, it will be intriguing to observe how these trends shape the future of families in the state.

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