Divorce Rate in America 2023

patrickcrawford | October 26, 2023

Do half of all marriages end in divorce? Is that still true? In this article, we’ll look at who is getting married, how first marriages compare to second marriages, how happy married people really are, Walk-Away Wife Syndrome, premarital and marriage counseling, and more. 


If you believe you might be facing divorce, never hesitate to reach out to a skilled divorce attorney


There Are Fewer Divorces in the U.S. Today 

The last time so few Americans—about half—were married was over 100 years ago. In 2000, there were four divorces for every 1,000 people. In 2021, that figure dropped to just 2.5. Although this may seem like a victory, the rate of divorce per 1,000 people worldwide is only 1.8. Americans are far more likely than other couples on a global scale to end their marriages. 


States in the U.S. with the Lowest and Highest Divorce Rates

The divorce rates in the United States can vary significantly from state to state, influenced by various socioeconomic and cultural factors. Here’s a look at the states with the lowest and highest divorce rates:


States with the Lowest Divorce Rates:

  1. Massachusetts:
  • Massachusetts consistently ranks among the states with the lowest divorce rates. Factors contributing to this low rate may include a higher level of education, a stable economy, and a strong emphasis on family values.
  1. New York:
  • New York often has a lower divorce rate compared to many other states. Cultural diversity, strict divorce laws, and the concentration of urban areas with diverse opportunities for employment and education may contribute to this trend.
  1. New Jersey:
  • New Jersey tends to have a lower divorce rate, possibly due to factors like higher education levels, economic stability, and a strong sense of community in many areas.
  1. Connecticut:
  • Connecticut is another state known for its lower divorce rates. A well-educated population, strong social support networks, and a relatively high socioeconomic status may be contributing factors.
  1. Pennsylvania:
  • Pennsylvania typically falls among the states with lower divorce rates. Stable job markets, a strong sense of community in many areas, and a more conservative approach towards marriage could play a role.


States with the Highest Divorce Rates:

  1. Nevada:
  • Nevada consistently has one of the highest divorce rates in the country. The state’s lenient residency requirements for divorce and the presence of a significant tourism industry in Las Vegas, which can contribute to impulsive decisions, may be factors.
  1. Arkansas:
  • Arkansas often ranks among states with higher divorce rates. Socioeconomic factors, lower education levels, and limited access to resources for couples facing challenges may play a role.
  1. Oklahoma:
  • Oklahoma has a history of higher divorce rates. Factors like lower average income levels, higher poverty rates, and cultural factors may contribute to this trend.
  1. Idaho:
  • Idaho can have higher divorce rates compared to the national average. Socioeconomic factors, including lower median incomes and limited access to educational resources, may play a role.
  1. West Virginia:
  • West Virginia tends to have higher divorce rates. Economic challenges, including lower income levels and fewer employment opportunities, may contribute to marital strain.


It’s important to note that while these states may have higher or lower divorce rates, individual circumstances, and relationships are influenced by a wide range of factors. Marriage and divorce rates can change over time due to shifts in social, economic, and cultural dynamics within each state.

Where Does Maryland Stand?

Maryland has a divorce rate slightly below the national average. In recent years, efforts have been made to stabilize and strengthen marriages through education and counseling programs. Factors contributing to Maryland’s divorce rate include socioeconomic status, education levels, and access to resources for couples facing challenges. 


Who Is Getting Married? 

People who cohabitate are regularly getting married more than those who do not. Over the last three decades, the amount of couples that live together before getting married has skyrocketed. 

Who is getting remarried? Half of divorced women say they’ll never get married again, which is double the rate of divorced men with the same sentiment. Men who never remarry, though, have much higher mortality rates (1,772 per 100,000 compared to divorced women at 1,095 per 100,000 and married couples at 779 per 100,000). 


Who Is Most Likely to Stay Married? 

While some of these statistics are probably not terribly shocking, you’ll be surprised by some.

  • People who have had fewer sexual partners before getting married report greater marital satisfaction than their counterparts. 
  • Ironically, if you get married at the age of 25, you are 50% less likely to get divorced than those who are just 20. However, being older doesn’t always mean a longer-lasting marriage. Once couples reach age 32, the likelihood of divorce grows 5% per birthday. 
  • Couples earning $200,000-$600,000 annually fare better marriage-wise than the poor, middle-class, and uber-rich. 
  • Daughters of divorced parents are 60% more likely to divorce than others, while sons of divorced parents are only 35% more likely to divorce. Could it be that an unhappy mom had a bigger influence on her daughter than her son (70% of divorces are initiated by the wife)? 
  • People who do not have divorced friends are less likely, by a whopping 75%, to get divorced. 
  • The rate of divorce for Hindus, with or without an arranged marriage, is just 5%. 


Demographic Factors that Influence Divorce

Several demographic factors can influence divorce rates in the United States. While it’s important to remember that individual circumstances vary, certain trends have been observed:

  • Age: Young couples have a higher likelihood of divorce. Those who marry in their late teens or early twenties face a greater risk. Conversely, couples who marry in their late twenties or early thirties tend to have more stable marriages.
  • Education: Research indicates that higher educational attainment is associated with lower divorce rates. Couples with college degrees are statistically less likely to divorce compared to those with lower levels of education.
  • Income and Socioeconomic Status: Economic stability often contributes to marital stability. Couples with higher incomes and secure employment are less likely to face the stressors that can lead to divorce.
  • Previous Marital Status: Individuals who have been previously divorced are more likely to experience subsequent divorces. This is known as the “marital history effect.”
  • Race and Ethnicity: While divorce rates have declined overall, there are still variations among racial and ethnic groups. For example, research shows that divorce rates are higher among Black couples compared to White couples.
  • Religious Affiliation and Practice: Studies suggest that couples who share similar religious beliefs and regularly attend religious services may have lower divorce rates. Strong religious ties can provide a support system and a shared value system.
  • Length of Courtship: Couples who have shorter courtships before marriage may be at a slightly higher risk of divorce compared to those who date for a longer period before tying the knot.
  • Parental Marital Status: Individuals whose parents divorced may face a slightly elevated risk of divorce themselves. This phenomenon is known as intergenerational transmission of divorce.
  • Cohabitation Before Marriage: Couples who live together before marriage (cohabitation) have been found to have slightly higher divorce rates compared to couples who do not cohabitate prior to marriage.


First Marriages 

Only 60% of first marriages involve two previously unmarried people. Some research indicates that the “seven-year itch” is real, and most divorces occur during the 8th year of marriage. However, other research shows divorces peak after five years and steadily increase each year thereafter. 

Subsequent Marriages 

Sometimes, there is a misconception that the first marriage is “just for practice” and that you’ll get it right the second time around. However, second marriages fail 67% of the time, and third marriages fail 73% of the time. Have you ever heard of couples that get divorced and then remarry? Surprisingly, those couples are the ones who have successful second marriages (72% make it to “until death do us part”). Unfortunately, only 6% of couples work out their problems after divorce. 

Marriage Counseling 

About half of married couples have gone to marriage counseling. The average couple in counseling has been married less than five years and are aged 25-30. When it comes to “saving a marriage,” counseling works in about 70% of cases. Only a quarter of couples feel their relationship was worse after counseling. 97% of married couples who tried marriage counseling feel they received the necessary guidance. 93% of couples report they learned valuable tools for communicating and supporting one another. 

Ask an Annapolis Divorce Attorney

People very rarely get married with the idea that a divorce will be in their future. However, as we can see from statistics, divorces happen regularly across the U.S. The important thing is to handle your divorce properly and with the right legal representation to protect your rights and future interests. 


Call the Law Office of Patrick Crawford to discuss a possible divorce today. Our Annapolis family law firm handles legal separation, divorce, support, custody, QDROs, and more. Call (410) 846-9103 or use our web contact form.

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