By Divorce.com staff
Updated Jun 21, 2023
Divorce and marriage trends in the state of New York might be surprising to some extent. Although marital patterns stay relatively the same throughout the country, New York has some notable distinctions.
In this article, you’ll find more details on divorce statistics in New York State and discover how different geographical, social, and ethnic factors affect marriage and divorce rates.
Let’s dive right in.
Divorce Rate in New York
New York State has one of the lowest divorce rates in the country. In fact, it is the third lowest after D.C. and New Jersey. The 2022-2023 results of the World Population Review survey show that there were 8.8% of divorces per 1,000 people in New York State.
The low divorce rates are not the only curious fact about New York couples. Other marital status trends include the following:
- New York divorce rates have remained at most 9.1% for the last ten years.
- Women living in New York State divorce more often (10.2%) than men (7.3%).
- Almost 50% of divorcing spouses in New York have underage children.
- Divorces are more common among Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders and the least common for Asians among other ethnic groups.
- Divorce rates for spouses in Republican counties are slightly higher than those in Democratic counties.
Divorce Rate by Year in New York
Divorce rates in New York State haven’t changed significantly since 2014 and have stayed within 8%-9% for the last ten years. However, 2021 was the only year divorces grew to 9.1% per 1,000 people.
Census.gov population tables have yearly data for marital status in the state, including the divorce rates, presented below.
- 2014 8.7%
- 2015 8.9%
- 2016 8.8%
- 2017 8.7%
- 2018 8.8%
- 2019 8.9%
- 2020 8.6%
- 2021 9.1%
- 2022 8.8%
Men and women in New York divorce at different rates, which are displayed in the table below. As the data shows, women get more divorces than men each year.
Who Files for Divorce More in New York
The national trend throughout American history is for women to file for divorce more often than men. Before the no-fault divorce was even introduced, around 60% of divorce filers were women.
After that, this number rose to 70%, according to studies. These days, the percentage of women starting a divorce remains slightly above two-thirds.
Some researchers believe that the main reasons women are the more likely initiators of divorce are the re-evaluation of marital roles and dissatisfaction with marriage or securing rights to child custody or alimony by presenting as an innocent party.
What is The Most Common Reason for Divorce in New York
After the no-fault divorce became an option in New York in 2010, married couples started using an “irretrievable breakdown” as the most common reason for divorce. However, to make this cause count, they need to prove that it had occurred six months before they filed their divorce complaint.
Another common reason for marriages falling apart in New York is infidelity. However, New York State residents rarely use it as a legal ground. First, it’s not easy to prove. The other spouse also has several defenses, such as condonation and recrimination.
And second, adultery does not always give perks to the innocent spouse in terms of alimony or child custody. So, the easiest way to get out of a failed marriage is to use no-fault grounds.
Divorce Rate in New York Counties
New York has 62 counties, each of which has its own divorce rate influencing the state’s average value. The largest counties with their dissolution rates are illustrated below.
- Kings County 7.1%
- Queens County 7.3%
- New York County 8.4%
- Suffolk County 8.3%
- Bronx County 9.4%
- Nassau County 6.7%
- Westchester County 8.2%
- Erie County 10.5%
- Monroe County 10.4%
- Richmond County 7.9%
- Onondaga County 10.7%
- Rockland County 7%
- Albany County 9.5%
- Dutchess County 9.5%
- Saratoga County 10.6%
- Oneida County 10.3%
- Niagara County 11.2%
- Broome County 10.6%
- Ulster County 11.8%
A County With the Highest Divorce Rate
Judging by the divorce rates in the largest counties, Ulster County has the highest number of divorces in New York - 11.8% per 1,000 people. In addition, the percentage of divorced men is higher than women - 12.9% against 10.7%.
A County With the Lowest Divorce Rate
With 1.4 million residents, Nassau County has the lowest divorce rate among the largest counties in New York State - 6.7% per 1,000 people. In particular, 5.1% of men and 8.3% of women are divorced in this county.
Divorce Rate in New York State Cities
Divorce rates also differ between the cities in New York State. According to statistical data, the percentage of divorces varies from 6% to 20%. Below are several prominent cities in New York and their divorce rates.
- Jamestown 20%
- Rome 17%
- Long Beach 15%
- Niagara Falls 15%
- Rochester 15%
- Elmira 15%
- Irondequoit 14%
- Bay Shore 14%
- Utica 14%
- Tonawanda 14%
- Buffalo 14%
- Syracuse 13%
- Yonkers 12%
- New York 11%
- Albany 10%
- East Meadow 9%
- Centereach 8%
- Levittown 8%
- Hicksville 7%
- New City 6%
- Ithaca 6%
City With the Highest Divorce Rate
Jamestown in Chautauqua County has the highest divorce rate in New York State - 20%. Note that it only stands out among the largest cities and those which provided the relevant statistics. The second city on the list is Rome (17%) in Oneida County.
Both counties have moderate divorce rates because the other cities in the area with lower divorce rates offset these high numbers.
City With the Lowest Divorce Rate
New City and Ithaca have the lowest divorce rates in New York - 6%. Both also have a similar distribution of divorced spouses by gender. In particular, there are 8% of divorced men and 4% of divorced women in Ithaca compared to New City’s 7% and 5%. Interestingly, Itahca also has the lowest marriage rate among other cities in New York.
Divorce Rate for Families With Kids in New York
Almost half of the divorcing families in New York have minor children. In particular, 14.5% of children live with their fathers and 33.5% with mothers after divorce, according to the American Community Survey.
The share of single-parent families that live in New York ranges from 17% to 60%. Here are a few examples of counties with their percentages of children living with only one parent.
- Albany County 37%
- Bronx County 58%
- Dutchess County 25%
- Erie County 36%
- Monroe County 40%
- Montgomery County 41%
- Nassau County 17%
- New York County 34%
- Niagara County 36%
Divorce Rate by Ethnicity in New York
The ethnic composition of the population in New York is predominantly White (62.1%), Black or African American (15.4%), and Asian (8.6%).
The Native Hawaiians group has the highest divorce rates compared to others. All other ethnicities have more or less the same divorce rates, except Asians. They get the fewest divorces - 5.3%.
The 2021 U.S. Census population tables give us detailed data on the percentage of divorces in New York for different ethnic groups.
- White 9.5%
- Black or African American 9.6%
- American Indians and Alaska Natives 9.4%
- Asian 5.3%
- Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islanders 15.3%
- Hispanic or Latino origin 9.8%
- Two or more races 9.4%
- Other races 9.8%
Divorce Rate by Religion in New York
Religion is generally associated with stronger marriages and fewer divorces. For example, a 2016 research by Harvard professor Tyler J. VanderWeele suggests that regular church attendance reduces the likelihood of divorce by 47%.
Currently, the majority of religious groups in New York State are Christians (60%). Others include non-Christian faiths (12%) and unaffiliated (27%). The divorce rates for some of these groups are represented below:
- Evangelical Protestant 13%
- Mainline Protestant 11%
- Catholic 12%
- Jewish 7%
- Unaffiliated (religious “nones”) 9%
Divorce Rates by a Political Party in New York
New York is currently supporting the Democratic party. In 2020, 60.8% of the people in the state voted for the Democrats. Only a handful of counties, such as Suffolk, Richmond, and Niagara County, preferred Republicans.
The divorce rates for couples living in Republican or Democratic counties are below. They were calculated based on the available data on divorce rates in the most populated New York counties:
- Republicans 9.4%
- Democrats 9.2%
The top five counties with the highest divorce rates and their political views are illustrated in the following table:
If we look at the counties with the highest (Ulster) and lowest (Nassau) divorce rates, we’ll see that both are Democratic.
Marriage Rate in New York
New York has one of the lowest marriage rates in the U.S. Currently, it holds the sixth lowest position after D.C., Louisiana, New Mexico, Rhode Island, and Mississippi.
Only 45.2% of people in New York are married. In addition, 47.8% of them are men, and 42.8% are women. In comparison, the median U.S. marriage rate is 48.1%.
Below are a few additional facts about marriage trends in New York State:
- New York State residents get married later in life than people in other states: at 29-31 years.
- The average length of New York marriages is slightly below the national average - 20.2 years.
- 18% of marriages in New York are between people of different races.
- 20-40% of people get married between 20-34 years old.
- Asian (55.4%) and White (49%) ethnic groups have the most marriages, while Black or African American marry the least often (28.3%).
The Average Age of Marriage in New York
The state of New York has one of the highest ages at first marriage for men and women. For instance, men get married at 31.4 years, which is approximately one year later than men in the U.S. on average (30.6 years).
Women living in New York State also start their married lives relatively late - at 29.7 years, which is higher than the U.S. average age at first marriage for women (28.6 years).
20%-25% of marriages in New York State happen between 20-34 years for both men and women. And more than half of the residents are married by 44 years. Most women who are 45-54 years old are married, while most men continue to stay married after 65.
Here’s a table presenting the number of married men and women depending on their age.
Average Length of Marriage in New York
The median duration of marriage in New York is slightly below the U.S. national average. Currently, couples in New York stay married for approximately 20.2 years. In comparison, first marriages in the U.S. last for 21 years, as a report by Bowling Green State University suggests. Second and third marriages are usually shorter - 17 and 13 years on average.
The length of the marriage can influence alimony duration in some cases. For instance, spousal support for marriages shorter than 15 years will last for 15% to 30% of the actual time. On the other hand, spouses married for 15 to 20 years can expect the length of alimony payments to be 30% to 40% of the marriage duration.
Marriage Rate by Year in New York
Each year since 2014 has shown different marriage rates in New York State. On the whole, the percentage of marriages varied from around 40% to 45%, according to the U.S. Census data.
Here’s a closer look at those numbers:
- 2022 45.2%
- 2021 44.4%
- 2020 40.3%
- 2019 44.8%
- 2018 45.2%
- 2017 44.4%
- 2016 44.1%
- 2015 43.9%
- 2014 44.3%
Marriage Rate in New York State Counties
The marriage rates for the most populated New York counties are below. As we can see from the available data, Bronx County has the lowest marriage rate in the state - 32.3%. On the other hand, Saratoga County is at the top of the rating, with the highest marriage rate of 54.4%.
- Kings County 41.2%
- Queens County 46.8%
- New York County 35.3%
- Suffolk County 51.2%
- Bronx County 32.3%
- Nassau County 54%
- Westchester County 50.3%
- Erie County 44.2%
- Monroe County 44.2%
- Richmond County 51.4%
- Onondaga County 45.1%
- Rockland County 53.4%
- Albany County 42.2%
- Dutchess County 48.2%
- Saratoga County 54.4%
- Oneida County 46.7%
- Niagara County 48.1%
- Broome County 44.1%
- Ulster County 45.4%
Marriage Rate in New York State Cities
Marriage rates in the largest cities in New York State are presented below from the highest to the lowest.
- New City 61%
- Commack 60%
- Oceanside 58%
- Levittown 55%
- Franklin Square 54%
- Centereach 52%
- East Meadow 51%
- West Seneca 50%
- Coram 49%
- Irondequoit 48%
- Tonawanda 48%
- Huntington Station 47%
- Harrison 47%
- New York 44%
- Yonkers 42%
- Rome 38%
- Mount Vernon 34%
- Buffalo 28%
- Syracuse 27%
- Albany 25%
- Rochester 24%
- Ithaca 16%
The city with the highest marriage rate in New York is New City (61%). Interestingly, it also has the fewest number of divorces in the state. Conversely, Ithaca in Tompkins County has the smallest percentage of marriages in New York - only 16%.
Same-Sex Marriage Statistics in New York
Same-sex marriages became legal in New York after the Marriage Equality Act was enacted on July 24, 2011. During the first year, approximately 12,285 were reported in the state, according to Pew Research.
Many more same-sex marriages have been registered since then. The U.S. Census provides more detailed statistics for same-sex marriages in 2020-2021, listed below.
- Total same-sex couples 51,750
- Male spouses 27,501
- Female spouses 24,249
- Total same-sex couples 40,908
- Male spouses 21,348
- Female spouses 19,560
The number of same-sex married couples in New York has increased by 26% between 2020 and 2021. Also, the gap between all-male and all-female marriages widened. Earlier, male pairs outnumbered all-female married couples by 1,700; now, this gap has increased to 3 thousand.
Rates for Civil Unions in New York
As of 2021, Census.gov reported 568,652 cohabiting partners in New York. 94% were opposite-sex partners, and 6% were same-sex couples. In addition, 29% of them also had children under 18 years old.
- Cohabiting couples in total - 568,652
- Opposite-sex - 530,142
- Same-sex (male) - 21,196
- Same-sex (female) - 17,314
Civil marriages (or unions) do not give the same perks as the couples enjoy during the marriage. New York laws either recognize civil marriages formed in another state or offer the cohabiting couples to enter a domestic partnership. It gives the partners several rights similar to those that married people have.
Interracial Marriage Statistics in New York
Interracial marriages became legal throughout the U.S. in 1967 and have slowly increased in number since then. For instance, the interracial marriage rate in New York State was 10%-15% in 2010, which was near the national average of 10%.
Currently, the percentage of marriages between people of different races is 16-17% nationwide. In comparison, the interracial marriage rate in New York is 18%, according to the Pew Research survey.
- New York totally intermarried: 18%
- Whites 14%
- Blacks 15%
- Hispanics 23%
- Asians 21%
The state of New York shows relatively low divorce and marriage rates in 2022-2023. Its divorce rate is almost at the bottom of the rating list, with 8.8% of dissolutions per 1,000 residents.
Likewise, the New York marriage rate is considerably low compared to other states - 45.2%, below the national average of 48.1%.
On top of that, the residents of New York State marry later in life than other Americans. The average age at first marriage is the highest in the country - 29-31 years. In addition, the first marriage duration is 20.2 years, which is lower than the national average.
Other notable trends concern ethnic groups, religion, and political views. Native Hawaiians, Republicans, and Christians have the most divorces in their groups.