A lot has been made about divorce statistics by state in America. Some claim that marriage breakups are more commonplace in the North Eastern states, which are liberal and far less orthodox, in addition to, of course, California. But is that really the truth? Our site busts these myths while backing up others as we look at some of the current statistics.
The Top Ten States With the Highest Divorce Rates:
We begin with a list of questionable worth- the list of the ten states with the highest percentages of split-up. Courtesy a report released by the US Census Bureau in August 2011, the top ten states with the highest percentages are as follows:
- Oklahoma– 12.8 among 1000 for men, 14.1 among 1000 for women
- Arkansas– 13.5 among 1000 for men, 12.8 among 1000 for women
- Alaska– 12.5 among 1000 for men, 16.2 among 1000 for women
- Alabama– 12.7 among 1000 for men, 13.9 among 1000 for women
- Kentucky– 12.6 among 1000 for men, 13.5 among 1000 for women
- Nevada– 12.3 among 1000 for men, 12.3 among 1000 for women
- Mississippi– 11.1 among 1000 for men, 12.5 among 1000 for women
- Georgia– 11.5 among 1000 for men, 11.7 among 1000 for women
- Tennessee– 11.4 among 1000 for men, 11.6 among 1000 for women
- Arizona– 10.8 among 1000 for men, 11.9 among 1000 for women
Well, looking at the above marriage and divorce statistics, isn’t it surprising to see the list filled with almost exclusively Southern states, with just Nevada and Alaska sole exceptions (though Alaska does not really does not count as a “liberal” state now, does it?). Isn’t it shocking to not have New York and especially California on the list?
Why Southern States Have a Higher Percentage Than Northeastern States Well, there are a number of factors for the Southern States to have a higher breakup percentage than their North Eastern counterparts:
Greater Idealization of the Concept of “Marriage” and Greater Expectations We usually assume that because the Southern States are more conservative and religiously orthodox (after all, the “Bible Belt” is in the South), they maybe more averse to the concept of divorce. While this is not far from the truth, one has to consider the fact that these conservative and religious states tend to take the concept of “marriage” far more seriously than the more liberal parts of the country. For the South, marriage is a “sacred institution” and as a result, it is given far more significance and validation over other romantic relationships. Generally speaking, people in the South have a tendency to idealize the concept of marriage far more than the citizens residing in other states. A direct result of this is that more the concept is idealized and hyped, the more expectations people tend to hold from a married relationship. Which leads us to our next point:
The Percentage of People Who Marry At a Younger Age in the South is Greater Than in the Other States
As the concept of “marriage” is given much more weight in the South, it becomes a priority for people, especially at an incredibly early age. They tend to hurry into wedlock, before becoming fully aware of everything that is at stake while making such a major decision. In religious places, the idea of “sexual purity” is much valued. This fact factors into peoples’ hasty decisions of rushing into marriage. Ultimately, this turns out to be a detriment as young married couples soon discover that they do not have what it takes to make it in the long run. Hence, the high number of separation cases in the South.
The Financial Crunch Which Plays a Role in High Breakup Rates
Unfortunately, we are in the midst of a huge recession and as a result, financial worries plague everyone. Especially the smaller businesses in the Southern country side and the intermediate companies in the Southern cities. People are not able to feed an entire family unit on their monthly incomes, and as a result, agree to separate mutually. Sad but true.
Nevada is probably on the list because it is home to a number of cities which provide “quickie, drive thru” weddings. A “Hangover”-style wedding will not last long now, will it?
The Fall of Marriage and Legal Separation Rates Across the States in the Last Decade or So
Over the past decade, the rates have taken a hit because marriage rates have dropped drastically. The states which saw the biggest drops were the ones in the Northeast, like Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire, which led the top ten when it came to a drop in marriages in between the years of 2000 to 2009, especially among a younger batch of adults, while Arizona represented the Southwest states on the list.
States where the marriage rates have remained more or less the same, include Midwestern and Mountain West states like Idaho, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah and Iowa.
And so, those are the currently prominent marriage and divorce statistics by state. Also refer to our page on “Divorce Statistics in America”for region and nation wise judicial separation and marriage statistics, and the homepage of the site for breakup percentages for each respective state.