Divorce Statistics by Religion

We saw on our page related to Christian divorce statistics how marriage break ups were plaguing even the most devote and strongest of faith, albeit some of those high percentages were disputed among many different parties. And then there is the fact that the United States of America is a cultural melting pot, ensuring that its citizens follow diverse faiths and beliefs. We more or less know where that religious faith fares when it comes to legal termination of marital relationship, but what about more specific denominations of the followers of Christ? And how do other religions present in the US compare in breakup rates? All this you will find below as we look at divorce statistics by religion in the United States of America:

Statistics by Religion as Calculated by the Barna Research Group

The Barna Group had claimed that Christians breakup at more or less the same rate as those who practice other religions i.e. approximately 33%. However, we did not see how these rates affect different denominations within the greater Christian faith. Here is a look at the Barna Group’s percentages for split-up among the various denominations of the Christian faith to better¬†understand the divorce statistics in America:

  • It was observed that those who practiced Christianity but did not identify as any one denomination under the faith had the highest rate of unsuccessful marriage among their members at 34%.
  • Next, it was seen that Christians who claimed to belong to the Baptist denomination of the faith had the second highest rate at 29%.
  • Tied for third among Christian denominations when it came to the rate were the Episcopal and Pentecostal denominations, both at approximately 28% each.
  • Fifth on the list of Christian denominations who could not save their marriages were the Methodist church, with 26% of their total members being legally split-up after marriage.
  • Sixth on the rate list, when it came to Christian denominations, were the mainstream Protestants who suffered 25% break-off cases among their memberships. Interestingly, non-denominational Protestant groups had a slightly lower rate among their membership at 24%.
  • Seventh was the Presbyterian denomination, with approximately 23% of its total followers having had broken marriages.
  • On the brighter side, the members who identified themselves as “Born Again Catholics” and “Born Again Lutherans” has the lowest rate among all the Christian denominations, with around 21% each.

Disclaimer: It should be noted that the findings of the Barna Research Group have been disputed by various researchers and groups affiliated to Christian faith based organizations as being inaccurate due to an oversimplification of complex religious bodies, allowing for ambiguous definitions for what the Barna Group termed as “Born Again Presbyterians” et cetera. For more on this,¬†refer to our page on Christian divorce statistics.

The Barna Group’s Findings with Regards to Members of the Jew Faith

The biggest denomination which was definitely non-Christian in all sense of the faith for which the Barna Group conducted research on breakup rates was for the American Jews. It was observed that for those American citizens who identified themselves as belonging to the Jewish Faith, the rate was 30%, on par with some of the Christian denominations with the highest rates.

The Barna Group’s Findings with Regards to Atheist and Agnostic Denominations

The Barna Group also carried out surveys for people in the US who belonged to non-Christian and Jew based denominations, specifically, the ones who identified themselves as “Atheists” and those who identified themselves of being of Agnostic faith.

Surprisingly, contrary to popular theory that the “liberally inclined non-believers” were more susceptible to marital breakdowns, the Barna Research Group noted that atheists and followers of the Agnostic denomination had lower rate among their members than most Christian denominations, and tied with the percentage for the Christian denominations with the lowest rate- around 21% each.

The Barna Group’s Findings with Regards to Mormons

The Barna Research Group, in addition to Christian denominations and non-religion denominations like Atheism and Agnosticism, also conducted research among members of the Mormon faith, also known as the Church of Latter Day Saints. It was found that people belonging to the Mormon denomination split-up at a rate slower than the Christian denominations highest on the Barna Group’s list, but on par and sometimes even higher than those denominations which figured lower on the list.

In short, members belonging to the Church of Latter Day Saints terminated their marriage on par with non-denominational Protestants, at 24%.

Rates For Religions in America NOT Covered by The Barna Research Group

Though the Barna Research Group had an expansive research when it came to divorce rates based by religions, they missed out on some important religions existing in the country. Here are the rates for those religions provided in 2008 by the U.S. Religious Landscape survey (these percentages also include couples who have been separated but not legally apart yet):

  • 14% for Jehovah’s Witness
  • 12% for Buddhist followers
  • 9% for followers of the Islamic faith
  • American Hindus had the lowest rate among the major religions in the country at just 5%.
  • US citizens who identified as members of religions not previously covered, i.e. Scientology, Wicca, Paganism, to name a few, had a collective rate of 15% (the individual rates for these religions were not mentioned in the survey).

And those were the divorce statistics by religion in America. As these results are clear, it does not matter whether you belong to an orthodox or an unorthodox faith, conservative or liberal, what matters is an individual effort by each married couple to make their relationship work.

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