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A look at the latest U.S. divorce statistics

On Behalf of | Mar 27, 2024 | Divorce

Divorce rates have fluctuated significantly throughout U.S. history, reflecting social, economic and cultural changes.

Understanding current trends can be helpful for those considering marriage or navigating the complexities of separation, as evaluating the latest U.S. divorce statistics can help paint a clearer picture of the current state of American divorce.

Unveiling the numbers: Crude divorce rates

The most commonly cited statistic is the crude divorce rate, which represents the number of divorces per 1,000 population. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the most recent data shows a crude divorce rate of 2.4 per 1,000 population. This suggests a relatively low number of divorces compared to the overall population. However, it’s important to acknowledge limitations. The crude rate doesn’t account for factors like age or marital status, potentially underestimating the true prevalence of divorce.

A more nuanced view: Divorce rates among married women

A more precise measure is the divorce rate per 1,000 married women. This statistic focuses on the population most likely to experience divorce. Bowling Green State University data indicates a slight rise in 2022 to 14.56 divorces per 1,000 married women, following a two-year low (2020-2021) of 14.0. While this suggests a potential uptick, the overall trend since 2011 remains downward.

Beyond national numbers: Geographic variations

Divorce rates can vary considerably across states. Factors like economic opportunity, religious beliefs and population demographics all play a role. For instance, states with a higher median age of first marriage often see lower divorce rates.

What about long-term trends?

The U.S. divorce rate has undergone a significant shift over the past few decades. Rates peaked in the early 1980s before steadily declining. This trend aligns with factors like delayed marriage, increased education levels and a growing emphasis on premarital counseling. However, it’s important to note that these statistics primarily reflect first marriages. The likelihood of divorce increases with subsequent marriages, with estimates suggesting a higher chance of ending in divorce for second marriages.

Understanding U.S. divorce rates requires looking beyond a single statistic. The crude rate offers a general overview, while the rate among married women provides a more precise picture. Geographic variations and long-term trends further enrich the data. While divorce remains a common reality, the decreasing national rate suggests a shift in societal norms and marriage patterns. If you are considering divorce, know that you’re not alone. Nor do you need to navigate the process along. Seeking personalized legal counsel is always an option.