Daily Archives: August 22, 2012

Divorce Rates By State


Divorce Rate by State:

According to a 2010 study done by the National Vital Statistics Report and the U.S. Census Bureau, northeastern states have the lowest divorce rates, and southern states the highest. But what is the cause of these differences and what fuels the divorces?

The study compared the number of divorces per 1,000 people rather than per 1,000 marriages, so one must take into consideration that the number of states’ marriage rates will show a linked relationship in their divorce rates. However, there are many other factors that influence these numbers. The largest correlation to divorce is poverty and financial stress. Marriages whose household income is below the median have a greater tendency of ending in divorce. For example, Maine is the only state in the Northeast with a high incidence of divorce, with a rate of 4.3 per 1,000, because it provides lower working-class compensation than surrounding states.

Infidelity and young marriage are secondary factors in high divorce rates. Certain states, such as Oklahoma (4.6 per 1,000) and Arkansas (5.6 per 1,000), have attributed their high rates to young people marrying in the early stages of lust or due to an unplanned pregnancy. In scenarios like these, infidelity is more likely to occur which can ultimately lead to divorce.  

Liberal divorce laws do not affect as many states as the previous stated explanations, but make quite an impact on the ones that they do. Some states have installed barriers and hurdles to getting divorced in order to encourage couples to reassess their decision and to work out their problems. While South Carolina requires a couple to be separated for one full year before being granted a divorce, other states have created a system in which obtaining a divorce is quite simple. A divorce attorney with mediation experience can also make the process easier by keeping couples out of court and focused on solutions that are beneficial to both parties.

Nevada (6.6 per 1,000) has been coined, among other things, the “divorce capital of the world.” Although the Las Vegas lifestyle influences marriages with its gambling, substance abuse problems and legal prostitution, liberal divorce laws in Nevada have made long, drawn-out and emotionally taxing divorces a thing of the past. Wyoming’s law states that a couple is simply required to live in the state for 60 days. After that, they can file, and three weeks later the divorce will be finalized.

Divorce rates cannot be categorically attributed to stereotypes, the way some sources suggest. The highest rates are not clustered in the Bible belt, nor do they lie solely in the red or blue states. We do have information on what is currently causing rates to rise, but the explanations are endless and subject to further debate.