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50+ Divorce Statistics in the U.S., Including Divorce Rate, Race, & Marriage Length

By Divorce.com staff
Updated Jan 06, 2024

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Most people believe that half of all marriages end in divorce. But is this really true?

The statistics surrounding divorce are complicated but shed a lot of light on who divorces and when. Get the details on the states’ divorce rates, second-marriage divorce rates, and the impact of gender and income on marriage and divorce.

Key Takeaways

  • 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.
  • Women started almost 69% of all divorces.
  • 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.
  • Three states – Maryland, New Jersey and Massachusetts – have some of the United States’s highest median income levels and lowest divorce rates.
  • Alabama, Mississippi and Arkansas have some of the United States’ lowest median income levels and the highest divorce rates.
Divorce in the US trends

What Is the Divorce Rate in the U.S.?

The national average divorce rate in the U.S. in 2021 was 2.5 per 1,000 people, as the Centers for Disease Control reported (Excluding data from California, Hawaii, Indiana, Minnesota, and New Mexico).

It was almost 69% lower than the average of 3.6 per 1,000 people in 2010. (Excluding California, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Louisiana, and Minnesota data.)

  • In 2020, CDC.gov reported an almost 2.3 divorce rate per 1,000 people. (This excludes California, Hawaii, Indiana, Minnesota, and New Mexico data.)
  • The Centers for Disease Control also reported 689,308 total divorces in the U.S. in 2021.

The divorce rate in America in 2021 was estimated to be around 48%. One marriage ends every 36 seconds.

U.S. States With the Highest Divorce Rates

us states with the highest divorce rate

These are the states with the highest divorce rates per 1,000 people as of 2021 (excludes data for California, Hawaii, Indiana, Minnesota, and New Mexico):

  • Nevada: 4.2
  • Oklahoma: 3.8
  • Wyoming: 3.7
  • Alabama: 3.6
  • Arkansas: 3.6
  • Florida: 3.4
  • Idaho: 3.4
  • Kentucky: 3.3
  • Mississippi: 3.3
  • Utah: 3.3
  • Tennessee: 3.3
  • North Carolina: 3.2
  • Alaska: 3.1
  • Virginia: 3.1

Nevada has the highest divorce rate, with 4.2 divorces per 1,000 people.

U.S. States With the Lowest Divorce Rates

states with the lowest divorce rate

These are the states with the lowest divorce rate per population of 1,000 as of 2021:

    • Massachusetts: 1.0
    • Illinois: 1.3
    • Texas: 1.4
    • Maryland: 1.6
    • Kansas: 1.9
    • Wisconsin: 2.1
    • Georgia: 2.2
    • Louisiana: 2.2
    • New Jersey: 2.2
    • New York: 2.2

Massachusetts, Illinois and Texas are tied for the lowest divorce rate.

Divorce Rate by Year

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: 3.0
  • 2017: 2.9
  • 2018: 2.9
  • 2019: 2.7
  • 2020: 2.3
  • 2021: 2.5

Who Files for Divorce More?

who files for divorce more

A study by M. Rosenfeld from Stanford University discovered that women started almost 69% of all divorces among about 2,000 surveyed couples.

The main reasons why women initiate divorce more often than men are:

  • Unmet needs
  • Deficient Life-Work Balance
  • Husband’s Unfaithfulness
  • Alcohol Addiction
  • Physical and Emotional Violence
  • Better Support System
  • Fewer Regrets

The Rate of Divorce for Women

Women get divorced at a significantly higher rate compared to men.

The 2021 divorce rate dropped to 6.9 in the last year from 9.7 divorces per 1,000 women in 2011. Experts suggest this is a more accurate statistic of the actual divorce rate than the crude rate.

Some prognoses suggest that in 2022-2025, this number is set to increase.

Percentages of Divorced 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 percentages of divorced women across the United States:

  • African-Americans: 33%
  • Hispanic women: 22%
  • White women: 19%
  • Asian women: 11%

What Is the Rate of Marriage in the U.S.?

the rate of marriage in the U.S.
  • In 2021, the marriage rate in the U.S. was 14.9 per 1,000 unmarried women. The overall rate for both genders rose to 6.0 despite having declined for many years.
  • In 2019, there were 2,015,603 registered marriages, with a marriage rate of 6.1. In 2020, it dropped to 5.1.
  • In 2022, 67.85 million men and 68.45 million women were married in the United States.

U.S. States With the Highest Rates of Marriage

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

states with the lowest marriage rate

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

In the United States, the dynamics and longevity of marriages have shown varied patterns based on whether it's a first, second, or third union.

As of data available up to January 2022, the average duration of a first marriage that ends in divorce is commonly cited to be around 8-9 years.

However, subsequent marriages tend to have shorter durations on average.

Second marriages, which generally have a higher divorce rate than first ones, tend to last between 7-10 years when they end in divorce.

Third marriages, with an even higher propensity for dissolution, have an average duration of 5-8 years when they culminate in divorce.

It's essential to understand that these figures represent general averages and individual experiences can vary widely based on a multitude of factors, including age, socio-economic status, education, and the presence of children from previous unions.

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:

Divorce Demographics for Adults Over the Age of 15
  • 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:

Median Income Levels Across The U.S.
  • Maryland - $90,203 (low divorce rates)
  • DC - $90,088
  • Massachusetts - $89,645 (the lowest divorce rate nationwide)
  • New Jersey - $89,296 (low divorce rates)
  • New Hampshire - $88,465
  • California - $84,907
  • Hawaii - $84,857
  • Washington - $84,857

These are the states with the lowest median household income:

  • Mississippi - $48,716 (high divorce rate)
  • West Virginia - $51,248
  • Louisiana - $52,087
  • Arkansas - $52,528 (high divorce rate)
  • Alabama - $53,913 (high divorce rate)
  • New Mexico - $53,992
  • Kentucky - $55,573
  • Oklahoma - $55,826

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 Which Year of Marriage Is Divorce Most Common?

The average length of a marriage is 8 years, according to Census.gov statistics.

Divorces typically occur during two periods in a marriage: either within the first two years or between the fifth and eighth years.

Although no conclusive results have been reached, the seventh and eighth are generally believed that the most challenging years in an average marriage.

This period is often referred to as the "7-year itch”.

What is the Most Common Reason for Divorce?

What is the Most Common Reason for Divorce?

Surveys by Insider.com, The Huffington Post and Forbes found a diversity of reasons for couples to initiate the divorce process.

  • Lack of commitment (75%)
  • Infidelity/relationships outside of the marriage (59.6%)
  • Conflict, irreconcilable differences (57.7%)
  • Marrying too young (45.1%)
  • Money issues/debt (36.1%)
  • Substance abuse/alcohol addiction (34.6%)
  • Communication problems (31.9%)
  • Inability to have children (27%)
  • Domestic violence (23.5%)
  • A child has a mental illness or is incapacitated (22.7%)
  • Health problems, mental illness of a spouse (20%)
  • Lack of support from family (17.3%)
  • Religious differences (13.3%)

What Are the Most Common Reasons for Marriage?

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.

Average Age at the First Divorce

According to bgsu.edu, In 1970, the median age at first divorce for men was 30.5 and 27.7 for women; by 2020, it reached 42.6 and 40.1, respectively. The divorce rate for people in their sixties has doubled since 1990, from 4.9 to 10.3 in 2008.

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

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.
  • 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:

How Does Age Impact Marriage?
  • 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 five 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.

Age at Marriage Impacts the Likelihood of Divorce

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.

How Does Education Impact Divorce?

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.

Divorce Rate by Ethnicity

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. However, 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?

Race Impacts 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

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 ten 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.

Divorce Rate by Religion
  • 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

Divorce Rates of Same-Sex Marriages

Census.gov's analysis of same-sex couple households in 2019 shows that 53.4% were female married couples, compared to 46.6% male married couples

The divorce rate for same-sex couples has 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

Divorce Rates for Military Couples

In 2017, the divorce rate among military members ranged between 3% and 3.1%, nearly mirroring the 3.2% rate for non-military couples. In 2019, 30,608 military marriages ended in divorce.

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.

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

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.

The Second Marriage Divorce Rate

The Second Marriage Divorce Rate

The divorce rate regarding second marriages in the U.S. is 60% compared to 40-50% 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.

Sources:

Second, Third Marriages: Divorce Rates Explained (VIDEO) | HuffPost Life

Study Challenges Which Political Party is Linked to a Happier Marriage | UVA Today

Divorce Rate Among Active Duty Troops Remains Stable | Military.com

Military Marriage Day

Troop Divorce Rate Unchanged; Marriage Rate Continues Fall | Military.com

Predictors of Relationship Dissolution in Lesbian, Gay, and Heterosexual Adoptive Parents - PMC

Stability Rates of Same-Sex Couples: With and Without Children: Marriage & Family Review: Vol 56, No 1

Same-sex divorce poses complications for some splitting couples

How Do People in Same-Sex Couples Compare to Opposite-Sex Couples?

Marital status - Religion in America: U.S. Religious Data, Demographics and Statistics | Pew Research Center

If My Parents Are Divorced, Is My Marriage Doomed to Fail? | Psychology Today

Effects of parental divorce on marital commitment and confidence.

Marriage to Divorce Ratio in the U.S.: Demographic Variation, 2018

The link between a college education and a lasting marriage | Pew Research Center

Who gets divorced in America, in 7 charts - The Washington Post

Age of Americans at their first wedding 2021 | Statista

Want to Avoid Divorce? Wait to Get Married, But Not Too Long | Institute for Family Studies

How Millennials Approach Family Life | Pew Research Center

Divorce rate plunges to its lowest level in 40 years - except for boomers | Daily Mail Online

8 facts about love and marriage in America | Pew Research Center

Divorce rates up for Americans 50 and older, led by Baby Boomers | Pew Research Center

Median Age at First Divorce, 2020

Replicating the Goldilocks Theory of Marriage and Divorce | Institute for Family Studies

Divorce Statistics and Facts | What Affects Divorce Rates in the U.S.?

Reasons for marriage and cohabitation differ considerably on some dimensions | Pew Research Center

Does Having Children Contribute To Your Risk Of Divorce?

In-Laws And Marriage Study: Son-In-Law Key To Lasting Marriage | HuffPost Life

The Most Common Reasons for Divorce, Ranked

Is the 7-Year Itch a Myth or Reality? | Psychology Today

In What Year of Marriage is Divorce Most Common

As U.S. marriage rate hovers at 50%, education gap in marital status widens | Pew Research Center

Median Household Income by State 2023

The Demographic Statistical Atlas of the United States - Statistical Atlas

Marital status of the U.S. population by sex 2022 | Statista

National Marriage and Divorce Rates Declined From 2011 to 2021

Women more likely than men to initiate divorces, but not non-marital breakups | ScienceDaily

Divorce Rates by State: 2019-2021

Why Relationships Fail | Psychology Today

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