By Divorce.com staff
Updated Sep 20, 2023
- The United States has the sixth highest divorce rate in the world, with 40% to 50% of married couples filing for a divorce.
- The United States Census Bureau report suggests that marriage and divorce rates dropped from 2009 to 2019.
- Usually, second or third marriages in the United States have a higher divorce rate: 60% of second marriages and about 73% of third marriages end in divorce.
- Couples going through their first divorce are around the age of 30. Married couples between the ages of 20 to 25 are 60% likely to get a divorce.
- Black women divorce at a higher rate (38.9%) than women of any other race.
- The military divorce rate is 3% on average. In 2019 alone, 30,608 military marriages ended in divorce.
- Baby Boomers have the highest divorce rate among other generations - 34.9%.
- Three states – Maryland, New Jersey, and Massachusetts – have some of the United State’s highest median income levels and lowest rates of divorce.
- Alabama, Kentucky, and Oklahoma have some of the United States’ lowest median income levels and the highest divorce rates.
What is the divorce rate in the U.S.?
The national average divorce rate in the U.S. in 2020 was 2.3 per 1,000 people, as the Centers for Disease Control reported. It is almost 64% lower than the average of 3.6 per 1,000 people in 2010. (Excluding data from California, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Louisiana, and Minnesota.)
- In 2019, CDC.gov reported an almost 2.7 divorce rate per 1,000 people. (This excludes California, Hawaii, Indiana, Minnesota, and New Mexico data.)
- The Centers for Disease Control also reported 630,505 total divorces in the U.S. in 2020.
The divorce rate in America in 2021 was estimated to be around 45% before Covid-19.
However, by mid-2021, several legal professionals noticed an increase in divorce filings, most likely due to restrictions being eased. As a result, in 2022, some sources predict the divorce rate to reach at least 44.2%.
U.S. states with the highest divorce rate
These are the states with the highest divorce rates per 1,000 people as of 2022:
- Arkansas: 10.7
- Oklahoma: 10.4
- Nevada: 10.2
- New Mexico: 10.2
- Kentucky: 10.1
- Wyoming: 10.0
- Delaware: 9.4
- Utah: 9.4
- Kansas: 9.2
- Alabama/Missouri: 9.1
Arkansas has the highest divorce rate, with 10.7 divorces per 1,000 married people. It is also one of several states with the youngest age at the first marriage.
U.S. states with the lowest divorce rate
These are the states with the lowest divorce rate per population of 1,000 as of 2022:
- Maine: 4.8
- District of Columbia: 4.8
- South Dakota: 6.0
- Pennsylvania: 6.1
- New York: 6.1
- Illinois: 6.2
- New Jersey: 6.3
- Iowa: 6.3
- Wisconsin: 6.4
- Massachusetts: 6.4
Main and the District of Columbia are tied for the lowest divorce rate; more than half of the states with the lowest divorce rate are in the northeastern part of the United States.
Divorce rate by year
Divorce rates have continuously declined since the end of the 20th century, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- In 2010, there were 3.5 divorces per 1,000 people
- 2011 - 3.6
- 2012 - 3.4
- 2013 - 3.3
- 2014 - 3.2
- 2015 - 3.1
- 2016 - 3
- 2017 - 2.9
- 2018 - 2.9
- 2019 - 2.7
- 2020 - 2.3
Who files for divorce more?
According to sociological research by M.J.Rosenfeld, women file for divorce twice more often as men.
Almost 69% of women initiate divorce in the U.S. compared to 31% of men. Surveys show that such disparity results from women’s high and later unmet expectations of emotional support from men.
The rate of divorce for women
The divorce rate for women in the United States in 2022 is 16.9 divorces per 1,000 married women. Experts suggest this is a more accurate statistic of the actual divorce rate than the crude rate.
In 2018, the U.S. Census Bureau revealed that 7.7 out of every 1,000 married women over 15 got divorced. Some prognoses suggest that in 2022, this number is about to increase.
Despite the rate of marriage steadily declining compared to divorce rates, experts predict that between 40% to 50% of marriages today will ultimately end in divorce.
How does the rate of divorce differ for women?
Women get divorced at a significantly higher rate compared to men. In particular, they get divorced at a rate of 7.7 per 1,000 citizens in the United States, according to the CDC.gov report. At the same time, the current national divorce rate is 2.3 per 1,000 people.
These are the states with the highest rates of divorce for women:
- Arkansas – 13.1 divorces per 1,000
- South Dakota – 12.1
- Oklahoma – 10.8
- Kentucky – 10.5
- Oregon – 10.1
- Indiana – 9.9
- Nevada – 9.6
- Utah – 9.3
- Missouri – 9.2
- Tennessee – 9.1
These are the states with the lowest divorce rates for women:
- Puerto Rico – 4.2 divorces per 1,000
- North Dakota – 4.7
- Rhode Island – 4.9
- New York – 5.7
- Wisconsin – 6.2
- Vermont – 6.3
- Illinois – 6.6
- California – 6.7
- Michigan – 6.9
Rates of divorce for women across the U.S.
There is a consistent trend regarding marriage and divorce rates among women across the U.S. For example, Black women usually display the lowest marriage probability and the highest divorce rates.
At the same time, Asian women get married at a higher rate and are less likely to get divorced.
These are the following divorce rates for women across the United States:
- African-Americans: 33% divorces per 1,000 married residents
- Hispanic women: 22% divorces per 1,000 married residents
- White women: 19% divorces per 1,000 married residents
- Asian women: 11% divorces per 1,000 married residents
What is the rate of marriage in the U.S.?
- Marriage rates in the U.S. have continuously declined for several decades. In 2018, the marriage rate was 31.3 per 1,000 unmarried women, with a 6.5 average for both genders.
- In 2019, there were 2,015,603 registered marriages, making the marriage rate even lower - 6.1. In 2020, it dropped even lower to 5.1.
- In 2021, 67.54 million men and 68.33 million women were married in the United States.
U.S. states with the highest rates of marriage
These are the 10 states with the highest rates of marriage:
- Utah: 56% of the population is married
- Idaho: 55%
- Wyoming: 53%
- Nebraska: 53%
- Iowa: 53%
- Kansas: 52%
- Minnesota: 52%
- South Dakota: 52%
- North Dakota: 52%
- New Hampshire: 52%
U.S. states with the lowest rates of marriage
These are the ten states with the lowest rates of marriage:
- Louisiana: 44% of the population is married
- New York: 44%
- Rhode Island: 45%
- Mississippi: 45%
- New Mexico: 45%
- Nevada: 46%
- Florida: 46%
- Massachusetts: 46%
- California: 47%
- Georgia: 47%
The average length of marriage in America
The average length of marriage in the United States is 8.2 years. Although the national average for marriage in the United States is slightly over eight years, couples in West Virginia and Maine have the longest-lasting unions (22.3 years), according to research.
New York City is also among the U.S. locations with the longest marriages. The typical marriage length for those who live in the Big Apple is 12.2 years. However, some scholars believe the actual number is closer to seven years because the divorce process takes a year to complete.
Many resources estimate the U.S. divorce rate to be about 50%, but the actual percentages of marriages that end in divorce vary between 40% to 50%.
For those who fear their marriage will end in divorce, this statistic is reassuring and suggests they are more likely to stay married than divorced.
Divorce Demographics for adults over the age of 15
The CDC.gov report provides the following demographics for the divorced population over 15 years old:
- Average age: 45.8
- Bachelor’s degree or higher: 30.1%
- Employed: 63.3%
- Unemployed: 36.7%
- Living below the poverty line: 11.9%
- Living with children under 18: 23.2%
- Homeowner: 67.4%
- Renter: 32.6%
How does income impact divorce?
The following statistics demonstrate the explicit dependence of divorce rates on financial stability. Namely, the higher the income, the lower the percentage of divorces, and vice versa. For instance, half of the states with the most insufficient median income are among the top ten with the highest divorce rates.
Median income levels across the U.S.
These are the states with the highest median household income:
- Maryland - $87,063 (low divorce rates)
- New Jersey - $85,245 (the 6th state with the lowest divorce rate)
- Massachusetts - $84,385 (the lowest divorce rate nationwide)
- Hawaii - $83,173
- Connecticut - $79,855 (the 5th state with the lowest divorce rate)
- California - $78,672
- New Hampshire - $77,923
- Alaska - $77,790
- Washington - $77,006
- Virginia - $76,398
These are the states with the lowest median household income:
- Mississippi $46,511
- West Virginia $48,037
- Arkansas $49,475 (the highest divorce rate nationwide)
- Louisiana $50,800
- New Mexico $51,243 (the 4th highest divorce rate)
- Alabama $52,035
- Kentucky $52,238
- Oklahoma $53,840 (the 2nd highest divorce rate)
- Tennessee $54,833
- South Carolina $54,864
Income also impacts the decision to marry, seemingly decreasing the divorce rate.
In 2018, the Census board reported that:
- 20% of 18 – 34-year-olds who made $40,000+ per year were unmarried.
- 40% of 18 – 34-year-olds who made $40,000+ per year were married.
Financial difficulties are often cited as the main reason for not getting married among never-married adults, according to research:
- 47% of them have incomes below $30,000
- 40% of them have incomes of $30,000-$75,000
In what year of marriage is divorce most common?
The two periods during marriage where divorces occur are usually during the first two years or the fifth to the eighth year of marriage.
Again, even though no conclusive result has been reached, it is expected that the most challenging years in the average marriage are years seven and eight. It is often referred to as the “7-year itch.”
What is the most common reason for divorce?
- Financial troubles are also another common reason for divorce. According to divorce stats, economic issues cause about 25% of divorces.
- Infidelity or extramarital affairs are the second most frequent reasons for divorces.
- Roughly 20% to 40% of marriages end in divorce because of a cheating partner or infidelity.
- Alcohol or drug use causes about 24% of divorces.
- Married couples who argue constantly are another reason for divorce; about 57.7% of couples get divorced because of daily arguing.
What are the most common reasons for marriage?
According to the 2019 Survey of U.S. adults, the most common reasons to get married are:
- Love – 90%
- Companionship – 66%
- Commitment – 63%
- The desire to have children – 31%
- Finances – 13%
- Legal rights and benefits –10%
- Pregnancy – 6%
How does age impact divorce?
Studies show that 48% of people who get married before 18 are likely to divorce within ten years after the wedding. Research also suggests that 60% of couples married between the ages of 20 to 25 will end in divorce.
Couples who get married between the age of 28 and 32 are less likely to have their marriage end in a divorce, according to research by Dr. N. Wolfinger from Utah University.
The average age at the first divorce
The average age for newly married couples going through their first divorce in the United States is 30 years old. About 34% of all divorces initiate spouses aged 25 to 29. The percentage of people 55 to 64 years old who got divorced for the first time is about 43%.
The divorce rate for people in their sixties has doubled since 1990, from 4.9 to 10.3 in 2008, according to research. This type of divorce is known as a “gray divorce” and can cause severe depression, worse than if one’s partner passed away.
Trends in divorce rates among Baby Boomers have been dramatic. Following their parents’ era (the “Silent Generation”), Boomers who came of age in the late 70s and early 80s started to divorce at a rate not seen before 1970. In 1990, there were 5 divorces for every 1,000 marriages. In 2015, this figure doubled, according to the Pew Research survey.
Divorce rates by generation
According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Community Survey and the Pew Research report, the number of divorces per 1,000 individuals declines through each 10-year age group, as well as senior citizens 65 and older.
- Although the number of divorces declined country, Boomers’ divorce rate has doubled from 5 to 10 divorces per 1,000 since 1990, according to research. They got to 15 divorces in 2017.
- In 2020, the Baby Boomers’ divorce rate (for adults aged 55 to 74) was 34.9%. This age group has been in the lead regarding the number of divorces since the late 20th century.
- Gen X divorce rate is 18 divorces per 1,000 people, putting this generation and the Millenials at the bottom of the divorce rate table.
- Millennials’ divorce rate (people 25 to 34 years old) dropped by 30% over the last years - from 33 to 23 per 1,000 people.
- Gen Z divorce rate (15 to 24-year-olds) has decreased by roughly 40% from 47 to 27 divorces per 1,000 people.
How does age impact marriage?
The marriage rate has fallen in the last decades, primarily because of the Millennials. They are also the only age group to see a reduction in both divorce and marriage rates. According to a 2020 report by Pew Research:
- Baby Boomers’ marriage rate was quite impressive when they were 18 to 32 years old - 68%.
- Baby Boomers’ marriage rate is the second highest after the “Silent Generation,” with an 85% marriage rate in 1968.
- The Gen X marriage rate for the same age group in 2003 was 66%.
- The Millennials’ marriage rate is among the lowest - 55% of adults aged 18 to 32 in 2019 were married.
- The Gen Z marriage rate is still relatively low compared to other generations - only 8%.
The reports posit that events such as the Great Recession of 2008, increasing home prices, and the high financial burden of student loan debt that millennials incur create barriers to marriage and creating a family.
How does age at marriage impact the likelihood of divorce?
Young age at first marriage is generally a high-risk factor for getting a divorce. For example, the Institute for Family Studies research shows that people who get married before they turn 20 have a 32% likelihood of getting divorced in the first 5 years of marriage.
Marriages concluded between 20 and 24 years old are 20% likely to end in divorce, while marriages at 25-29 end in 15% of cases.
Couples who tied the knot at 30-34 are the strongest, with only 14% of divorces. And lastly, marriages entered after 35 years old are at relatively high risk (19%) of breaking down.
According to the most recent estimates, the average age of those getting married for the first time in 2021 was 28.6 for women and 30.6 for men.
How does education impact divorce?
Surveys show that divorce rates depend on education level. So, the more educated a person is, the more likely they will stay married.
The National Center for Health Statistics found that 78% of college-educated women were still married 20 years later, compared to women who only have a college diploma.
These are the divorce rates for those with different education levels:
- Less than high school: 16.4 divorces per 1,000 individuals
- High School: 16.4 divorces per 1,000 individuals
- College degree: 20.4 divorces per 1,000 individuals
- Bachelor’s degree: 14.1 divorces per 1,000 individuals
- Master’s degree: 12.5 divorces per 1000 individuals
What is the divorce rate by ethnicity?
Different studies show that African-American women are more likely to get divorced than women of other races. Sociologists suggest that it may be because of lower income and job prospects.
These are the divorce rates of each ethnicity as of 2018 per 1,000:
- The black divorce rate is the highest among other races: 30.8
- The Hispanic divorce rate is the second highest: 18.5
- The white divorce rate makes up almost half of the Black divorce rate: 15.1
- The Asian divorce rate is the lowest among other races: 12.4
What race has the highest divorce rate
Black adults have the highest divorce rate and the lowest marriage rate. But according to research, they also marry at later ages: 32 for men and 31 for women.
Black women are the only group among other races with a number of divorces higher than the marriage rate. In 2018, there were 31 divorces among the Black population and 17.3 marriages per 1,000 people.
The share of ever-divorced Black women was 38.9% per 1,000 married women in 2016, compared to 34.4% for Whites, 13.9% for Asians, and 33.7% for Hispanic-origin women.
Black adults also make up the largest share of the never-married group. Notably, 79% of 25-29- year-old Black women and 18% of 55-year-olds were never married as of 2016.
How does race impact marriage and divorce?
Ethnicity is one of the notable predictors of divorce. For instance, Asian Americans have traditionally shown the lowest divorce rates of all other races. Currently, it’s 12.4 divorces per 1,000 people, with at least one divorce for 18% of Asian American women and 16% of men.
Hispanic-origin Americans are the second largest group regarding the number of divorces. An average of 18.5 marriage dissolutions were registered in 2018 among the representatives of this ethnicity, 30% of them being women and 27% being men.
White (Caucasian) Americans fall third with 15.1 divorces for 1,000 people. Specifically, 38% of White women and 36% of men have been divorced at least once.
Finally, Black Americans divorce at the highest rate compared to any other ethnicity in the U.S. In Particular, they had 30.8 divorces per 1,000 people in 2018.
Are children of divorce more likely to experience divorce themselves?
Different studies suggest that children of divorced parents may experience divorce as adults. For example, a 2008 study by S. Whitton from Boston University indicates that parental divorce causes lower levels of commitment towards marriage in the children.
Another study by researchers Paul Amato and Danelle Deboer found that if a woman’s parents divorced, her chances of getting divorced increased by 69%. They also suggested that if both of a married couple’s parents divorced, the possibility of their divorce increased to 189%.
However, many predictions and suggestions have not been adequately tested so far.
Divorce rate by occupation
The most traditional opinion on the connection between divorce rates and occupation is that low-paid jobs create more friction and financial instability, leading to divorce.
As it turns out, money doesn’t necessarily determine whether people get divorced.
Sometimes an occupation’s atmosphere also impacts a married couple’s relationship, ultimately making some call it quits.
These are the 10 occupations with the highest divorce rates:
- Gaming and casino managers: 52.9%
- Bartenders: 52.7%
- Flight attendants: 50.5%
- Gaming services workers: 50.3%
- Rolling machine setters: 50.1%
- Switchboard operators: 49.7%
- Extruding machine operators: 49.6%
- Telemarketers: 49.2%
- Textile knitting operators: 48.9%
- Compacting machine operators: 48.8%
Divorce rate by religion
Pewresearch.org found that the highest divorce rates are among the Historically Black Protestant church attendees, while the lowest is among Hindus.
- Historically Black Protestants: 19% divorced in the U.S.
- Evangelical Protestant: 14%
- Catholic: 12%
- Jehovah’s Witness: 12%
- Mainline Protestant: 12%
- Unaffiliated: 11%
- Buddhist: 10%
- Jewish: 9%
- Orthodox Christian: 9%
- Muslim: 8%
- Mormon 7%
- Hindu: 5%
Divorce rates of same-sex marriages
Census.gov analysis of same-sex couples households in 2019 shows that there were 53.4% of female married couples compared to 46.6% of male spouses.
The divorce rate for same-sex couples had risen from 1.1 per 1,000 people since 2015 when these marriages became legal nationwide. In 2017, about 5% to 6% were divorced, and 2.1% were separated.
Same-sex couples are 50% more likely to get divorced than different-sex couples.
Studies also found that lesbian couples are more likely to divorce if they have children. For example, 12.3% of two-female couples break up within the first 5 years of marriage compared to 2% of gay spouses.
Divorce rates for military couples
Military members under 30 years old enlisted in air weapons and tactical operations have higher divorce rates than other military positions.
The highest divorce rate was among the Marine Corps and the Air Force - 3.3%. The Navy divorce rate was the lowest - 2.8%.
Military.com also shows that female enlisted officers and troops get divorced more often than men in other military positions. In particular, female officers divorced three times more than male military members.
The divorce rate of female troops in 2019 was 7%, while the divorce rate of male soldiers in the same year was only 2.5%.
Divorce rates by political party
Republicans are more likely to get married and less likely to get divorced, according to research by W.B.Wilcox.
The most Republican-friendly states have the highest marriage rates - Utah (56%), Idaho (55%), and Wyoming (53%).
Republicans are generally happier in their marriages than Democrats, according to the studies. For example, 67% of Republican spouses, compared to 60% of Democratic couples, said they were satisfied with their marriages in the 2010-14 General Social Survey.
However, the vast majority of states with the highest divorce rates are Republican - Arkansas (10.7 divorces per 1,000 people), South Dakota (10.4), and Oklahoma (10.2). It may partly be explained by higher marriage rates than in Democratic states.
The second marriage divorce rate
The share of adults 15 years and older who married only once decreased from 54% in 1996 to 50%, according to the Census data.
The divorce rate regarding second marriages in the U.S. is 60% compared to 40% for the first marriages and 73% for the third ones, according to statistical research.
64% of people with at least a bachelor’s degree are likely to be married just once compared to all adults.
White men have the highest rate of second and third marriages, while Asian men and women have the lowest rate of remarriages.