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Marriage and Divorce Facts From Around the World

Marriage and Divorce Facts From Around the World

Posted on April 22nd, 2016

The secret to a lasting marriage, how many children should you have, only the dumb marry young…the internet is chalk full of dating and marriage advice. There seems to be an opinion and study for almost every possible factor that may affect your marriage and land you in divorce court. And while many blog posts are just for fun, some studies have yielded some extremely interesting and – in some cases – downright shocking information about divorce in both the U.S. and the rest of the world. So it’s okay to admit you’re interested in it all!

But just in case you don’t have 20 hours to spare (it may or may not have taken this long to compile this list), we have compiled a nearly exhaustive list with every study, statistic, and fact that we could find.  As we work our way through 2016,  here is everything you need to know – and quite possibly more- about divorce.


divorce and marriage rates

  1.  Marriage rates in the US are decreasing as divorce rates are increasing.
  2. The marriage rate in the U.S. is currently 6.8 per 1,000 total population.
  3. The divorce rate in the U.S. is  3.6 per 1,000 population. (with 44 states and D.C. reporting) This is known as the “crude divorce rate”. Although useful for describing changes in divorce rates over time, the crude divorce rate does not provide accurate information on the percentage of first marriages that end in divorce.

divorce per 1000 married women

  1.  Currently, the divorce rate per 1000 married women is 16.9.  Many experts feel that this is a much more accurate measure of true divorce rate than the crude rate.
  2.  The divorce rate per 1000 married women is nearly double that of 1960, but down from the all time high of 22.6 in the early 1980s.
  3.  Almost 50 percent of all marriages in the U.S. will end in divorce or separation.
  4.  Researchers estimate that 41 percent of all first marriages end in divorce.
  5.  60 percent of second marriages end in divorce.
  6.  73 percent of all third marriages end in divorce.
  7. The U.S. has the 6th highest divorce rate in the world. 


  1. Every 13 seconds, there is one divorce in America.
  2. That equates to 277 divorces per hour, 6,646 divorces per day, 46,523 divorces per week, and 2,419,196 divorces per year. That means:
  3. There are 9 divorces in the time it takes for a couple to recite their wedding vows (2 minutes).
  4. More than 554 divorces occur during your typical romantic comedy movie (2 hours).
  5. 1,385 divorces happen during the average wedding reception (5 hours).
  6. There are 19,353,568 divorces over the course of an average first marriage that ends in divorce (8 years).
  7. Over a 40 year period, 67 percent of first marriages terminate.
  8. Among all Americans 18 years of age or older, whether they have been married or not, 25 percent have gone through a marital split.
  9. 15 percent of adult women in the U.S. are divorced or separated today, compared with less than one percent in 1920.
  10. The average first marriage that ends in divorce lasts about 8 years.



who is getting divorced?

  1. The average age for couples going through their first divorce is 30 years old.
  2. 60 percent of all divorces involve individuals aged 25 to 39.
  3. Wives are the ones who most often file for divorce at 66 percent on average. That figure has soared to nearly 75 percent in some years.
  4. For instance, the groups with the most prolific experience of marriage ending in divorce are downscale adults (adults making less than $20,000 annually)  (39%), Baby Boomers (38%), those aligned with a non-Christian faith (38%), African-Americans (36%), and people who consider themselves to be liberal on social and political matters (37%).
  5. Among the population segments with the lowest likelihood of having been divorced subsequent to marriage are Catholics (28%), evangelicals (26%), upscale adults (adults making more than $75000 annually) (22%), Asians (20%) and those who deem themselves to be conservative on social and political matters (28%).

military divorce

  1. According to the Pentagon, the military divorce rate is 3.4 percent in the 2013 fiscal year. However, the rate was significantly higher in military women at 7.2 percent.
  2. The Divorce rate among enlisted troops was 3.8 percent. Among officers the divorce rate was 1.9 percent.
  3. The Air Force has the highest divorce rate among enlisted troops of any military branch at 4.3 percent.
  4. The divorce rate among U.S. Navy Seals is over 90 percent.

divorce rate in specific population segments

  1. The divorce rate among people 50 and older has doubled in the past 20 years, according to research by Bowling Green State University.
  2. The divorce rate among couples where one spouse is in jail or prison for one year or more is 80 percent for men and close to 100 percent for women.

same sex divorce (2014 statistics)

  1. About 1 percent of married same-sex couples get divorced each year, while about 2 percent of married straight couples divorce.
  2. According to figures from the UK’s Office of National Statistics, lesbian couples are nearly twice as likely to end a marriage or civil union than gay male couples are.


  1. The average length of a marriage that ends in divorce is 8 years.
  2. January is considered “divorce month”. People start looking for information before the New Year starts, but they can’t do much until the attorneys are back in the office. January 12-16 seems to be the magic week for filings.

why people are divorcing

Lack of commitment is the most common reason given by divorcing couples according to a recent national survey. Here are the reasons given and their percentages from 2014:

  • Lack of commitment 73%
  • Argue too much 56%
  • Infidelity 55%
  • Married too young 46%
  • Unrealistic expectations 45%
  • Lack of equality in the relationship 44%
  • Lack of preparation for marriage 41%
  • Abuse 25%

(Respondents often cited more that one reason, therefore the percentages add up to much more than 100 percent)


your age

  1. 48 percent of those who marry before the age of 18 are likely to divorce within 10 years, compared to 25 percent of those who marry after the age of 25.
  2. 60 percent of couples married between the age of 20 -25 will end in divorce.
  3. Those who wait to marry until they are over 25 years old are 24 percent less likely to get divorced.

if you or your partner have been married before

If both you and your partner have had previous marriages, you are 90 percent more likely to get divorced than if this had been the first marriage for both of you.


  1. If a person has strong religious beliefs, the risk of divorce is 14 percent less and having no religious affiliation makes you 14 percent more likely to get divorced.
  2. If you’re an evangelical Christian adult who has been married, there’s a 26 percent likelihood that you’ve been divorced—compared to a 28 percent chance for Catholics and a 38 percent chance for non-Christians.
  3.   According to Dr. Jennifer Glass, one of the strongest factors predicting divorce rates (per 1000 married couples) is the concentration of conservative or evangelical Protestants in that county.  The correlation can be seen on this figure:  (insert divorce counties image)

education and intelligence

  1. High School dropouts are 13 percent more likely to get divorced.
  2. Individuals who have attended college have a 13 percent lower risk of divorce.
  3. Those with “below average” IQs are 50 percent more likely to be divorced than those with “above average” IQs.

political affiliation

  1. Political affiliation and it’s impact on divorce: Conservative 28 percent, Liberal 37 percent, Moderate 33 percent.
  2. If you live in a red (Republican) state, you are 27 percent more likely to get divorced than if you live in a blue (Democrat) state.


  1. 60 percent of cohabiting couples will eventually marry. However, living together prior to marriage can increase the chance of getting divorced by as much as 40 percent.
  2. If you are a female serial cohabiter – a woman who has lived with more than one partner before your first marriage – then you’re 40 percent more likely to get divorced than women who have never done so.

where you met

  1. According to this study at least, if you met your spouse in high school, college, or grad school, you are 41 percent less likely to get divorced.
  2. The other major difference was couples who met in bars were 24 percent more likely to get divorced than expected.

your sexual history

  1. Women who lost their virginity as a teenager are more than twice as likely to get divorce in the first 5 years of marriage than women who waited until age 18 or older.
  2. A 2011 study at the University of Iowa found that for both men and women, the loss of virginity before age 18 was correlated with a greater number of occurrences of divorce within the first 10 years of marriage.
  3. When compared to women who began sexual activity in their early 20s, girls who initiated sexual activity at ages 13 or 14 were less than half as likely to be in stable marriages in their 30s. – (in this study a stable marriage was defined as a marriage of over five years).

where you live

1. According to the CDC, the five states with the highest divorce rates are:

  • Nevada at 5.6
  • West Virginia at 5.2
  • Arkansas at 5.3
  • Idaho at 4.9
  • Oklahoma at 5.2

2. The five states with the lowest divorce rate are:

  • Iowa at 2.4
  • Illinois at 2.6
  • Massachusetts at 2.7
  • North Dakota at 2.7
  • Pennsylvania at 2.8

Arkansas has the highest rate of individuals married 3 or more times. Men and women in Arkansas are twice as likely to be married 3 or more times than the national average.

your habits

  1. The risk of divorce was said to be almost doubled – 97 per cent higher – when the mother went out to work but her husband made a “minimal contribution” to housework and childcare.
  2. In 2011, Facebook was cited as a major contributor to 1/3 of divorce petitions examined by one U.K. study.
  3. In a study by the University of Rochester, researchers said that watching romantic movies and having conversation around it helps in lowering the divorce rates from 24 to 11 percent in marriages of three years.
  4.  Pornography addiction was cited as a factor in 56 percent of divorces according to a recent study.

your parent’s relationship

  1. If your parents are happily married, your risk of divorce decreases by 14 percent.
  2. If your parents married others after divorcing, you’re 91 percent more likely to get divorced.
  3. According to Nicholas Wolfinger in “Understanding the Divorce Cycle”, the risk of divorce is 50 percent higher when one spouse comes from a divorced home and 200 percent higher when both partners do.
  4. In addition, children of divorce are 50 percent more likely to marry another child of divorce.
  5.  Certain studies have shown that daughters of divorced parents have a 60 percent higher divorce rate in marriages than children of non-divorced parents while sons have a 35 percent higher rate.

if you have kids or not

  1. The divorce rate for couples with children is as much as 40 percent lower than for those without children.
  2. Half of all children in the U.S. will witness the ending of a parent’s marriage.
  3. Of this half, close to 50 percent will also see the breakup of a parent’s second marriage.
  4. If you have twins or triplets, your marriage is 17 percent more likely to end in divorce than if your children are not multiples.
  5. If you have a daughter, you’re nearly 5 percent more likely to divorce than if you have a son.
  6. When there are as many as three daughters that difference spiked to 10 percent.
  7. Fathers are significantly -3 percent – less likely to be living with their children if they have daughters versus sons.
  8. Having a baby before marriage can increase risk of divorce by 24 percent.

your finances

  1. An annual income of over $50,000 can decrease risk of divorce by as much as 30% versus those with an income of under $25k.
  2. Feeling that one’s spouse spent money foolishly increased the likelihood of divorce 45 percent for both men and women.
  3. Couples that argue about finances at least once a week are 30 more likely to get divorced.
  4. The same study also found that couples with no assets at the beginning of a three-year period are 70 percent more likely to divorce by the end of that period than couples with $10,000 in assets.

addiction and mental illness

  1. Couples are an astonishing 76-95% more likely to get divorced if only one of them smokes. The amount increases when the wife is the partner with the habit.
  2. While couples who both smoke have it a bit better, a 1998 study found they are still 53% more likely than non-smoking couples to end their marriage.
  3. Each liter of alcohol consumer raises the chance of divorce by 20%! Factor in that the average American drinks 9.4 liters of Alcohol per year, raising their divorce likely hood by 188%!
  4. According to a 9 year study by the University of Buffalo, couples who have similar heavy drinking patterns – either both are heavy drinkers or both are not- are more likely to stay together.
  5. However, if one spouse is a heavy drinker and the other is not, they are 60 percent more likely to get divorced.
  6. A multi-national study of mental disorders, marriage and divorce published in 2011 found that a sample of 18 mental disorders all increased the likelihood of divorce — ranging from a 20 percent increase to an 80 percent increase in the divorce rate. Addictions and major depression were the highest factors, with PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) also significant.
  7. A recent study of divorce petitions found that nearly 15 percent of them cited video game addiction as a major factor in the decision to get divorced.


  1. Forty-three percent of children in the U.S. are being raised without their fathers.
  2. When the parents are happily married, the risk of divorce of their children decreases by 14 percent.
  3. 90% of divorced mothers have custody of their children.
  4. Over 79 percent of custodial mothers receive a child support award, while just under 30 percent of custodial fathers receive one.
  5. 65% divorced mothers receive no child support.
  6. Over 46 percent of non-custodial mothers completely default on child support, compared to only 27 percent of non-custodial fathers.


  1. If a close friend gets divorced, you are 147% more likely to become divorced and 33% more likely if a friend of a friend is divorced.
  2. Studies at the University of California and Brown University cite that when a married person works with someone who is in the process of divorcing, it increases the married person chances of divorce by 75%.
  3. These same studies also found that people with divorced sisters or brothers are 22% more likely to get divorced than if siblings are not divorced.
  4. In a large-scale Canadian survey, 19 percent of men reported a significant drop in social support post divorce.


  1. The average total cost of divorce is $15,000.
  2. Families with children that were not poor before the divorce see their income drop as much as 50 percent.
  3. Almost 50 percent of the parents with children that are going through a divorce move into poverty after the divorce.
  4. 27% of recently divorced women had less than $25,000 in annual household income compared with 17% of recently divorced men.
  5. 60% of people under poverty guidelines are divorced women and children.


  1. A new study entitled “Divorce and Death” shows that broken marriages can kill at the same rate as smoking cigarettes. Indications that the risk of dying is a full 23 percent higher among divorcées than married people.
  2. One researcher determined that a single divorce costs state and federal governments about $30,000, based on such things as the higher use of food stamps and public housing as well as increased bankruptcies and juvenile delinquency.
  3. The nation’s 1.4 million divorces in 2002 are estimated to have cost the taxpayers more than $30 billion.
  4. An article in the New York Times stated that – of couples who seek marriage counseling – 38 percent end up divorced just two years later.


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