Skip to main content

Main Area

Main

How divorce rates in your state have changed since 1990

  • How divorce rates in your state have changed since 1990

    Think there’s a formula for a lasting marriage that doesn’t end in divorce? A look at the changes in divorce statistics and trends across the United States in the past 30 years paints a more complicated picture than an easy checklist of factors for a lasting union, or, conversely, a divorce. Some experts point to economic factors that may stress a marriage.

    Others say that divorce rates have every bit as much to do with marriage rates as they do with divorce itself—the more married couples there are in a state, the more couples there are to add to the state’s annual divorce tally. And on this front, social norms may be regional, with Southern states making up the lion’s share of the most married and most divorced states, while their Northern counterparts tend to both marry and divorce less.

    Stacker used divorce statistics from the CDC/National Center for Health Statistics to determine how divorce rates in every state have changed since 1990. The states are listed here alphabetically, and their changing divorce rates are represented as percent changes from 1990 to 2018 (the most recent year of data available). California, Hawaii, Indiana, Louisiana, Minnesota, and New Mexico are not included as divorce rates were not provided for 1990 and 2018.

    Rates are based on provisional counts of divorces by the state of occurrence. Rates are per 1,000 people residing in the area. The population listed is current as of April 1 for 1990, 2000, and 2010 and estimated as of July 1 for all other years. It should be noted that every state has had a decrease in divorce rates from 1990 to 2018, with a national average change of negative 37.3%. During the same period, every state had a decrease in marriage rates, as the national average decreased by 32.5%.

    You may also like: How marriage rates in your state have changed since 1990

  • Alabama

    - Change in divorce rate 1990-2018: -39.3% (#22 biggest decrease among states with data)
    - 1990 divorce rate: 6.1 per 1,000 people
    - 2018 divorce rate: 3.7 per 1,000 people

    Although Alabama had a significant decline in divorce rates in the past 30 years, the state still has one of the highest divorce rates in the nation. Six of the 10 states with the highest divorce rates are in the South, of which Alabama is a part. Experts say the decline in divorce rates may be attributed to the general trend of people marrying later in life, which has been shown to result in divorce less often.

  • Alaska

    - Change in divorce rate 1990-2018: -32.7% (#30 biggest decrease among states with data)
    - 1990 divorce rate: 5.5 per 1,000 people
    - 2018 divorce rate: 3.7 per 1,000 people

    Might geographic isolation lead to the impulse to divorce? Many of the towns in Alaska with the highest divorce rate are located in remote areas. And while isolation might seem like a prime reason to couple up, such a reason might lead to hasty marriages that later result in divorce.

  • Arizona

    - Change in divorce rate 1990-2018: -56.5% (#3 biggest decrease among states with data)
    - 1990 divorce rate: 6.9 per 1,000 people
    - 2018 divorce rate: 3 per 1,000 people

    Arizona has one of the highest divorce rates in the nation. Experts speculate that one reason may be Arizona’s no-fault divorce laws, which means people do not have to provide explanations to courts why they want a divorce.

  • Arkansas

    - Change in divorce rate 1990-2018: -40.6% (#19 biggest decrease among states with data)
    - 1990 divorce rate: 6.9 per 1,000 people
    - 2018 divorce rate: 4.1 per 1,000 people

    Arkansas has a very high divorce rate, ranking fourth in the nation. Experts say that compared to the nation as a whole, people in Arkansas are still getting married at a young age, which leads to a likelier chance of divorce.

  • Colorado

    - Change in divorce rate 1990-2018: -40% (#20 biggest decrease among states with data)
    - 1990 divorce rate: 5.5 per 1,000 people
    - 2018 divorce rate: 3.3 per 1,000 people

    While Colorado’s divorce rate is declining, pockets of the state are stubbornly refusing to go along with the trend of fewer divorces. A look at these cities and towns shows surprising correlating factors: Besides the highest divorce rate, the town of Salida also has the seventh-most bars and liquor stores per capita in the state.

    You may also like: 50 famous paintings and the stories behind them

  • Connecticut

    - Change in divorce rate 1990-2018: -9.4% (#45 biggest decrease among states with data)
    - 1990 divorce rate: 3.2 per 1,000 people
    - 2018 divorce rate: 2.9 per 1,000 people

    One factor to consider in Connecticut’s declining divorce rates is the fact that relatively few people in the state get married. The state’s marriage rates are the fifth-lowest in the country, which means there are fewer unions that might end in divorce.

  • Delaware

    - Change in divorce rate 1990-2018: -36.4% (#27 biggest decrease among states with data)
    - 1990 divorce rate: 4.4 per 1,000 people
    - 2018 divorce rate: 2.8 per 1,000 people

    Delaware has stringent requirements for initiating a divorce. The state courts require that couples prove specific grounds and reasons for wishing to sever their union and consider the couple still sleeping in the same bedroom as sufficient grounds to deny their petition.

  • District of Columbia

    - Change in divorce rate 1990-2018: -44.4% (#10 biggest decrease among states with data)
    - 1990 divorce rate: 4.5 per 1,000 people
    - 2018 divorce rate: 2.5 per 1,000 people

    The District of Columbia has the highest divorce rate in the country, with nearly 30 of every 1,000 marriages ending in divorce. The District is a famously career-oriented place, which may account for its residents placing a lower priority on maintaining their relationships with their spouses than they do with impressing their bosses.

  • Florida

    - Change in divorce rate 1990-2018: -42.9% (#14 biggest decrease among states with data)
    - 1990 divorce rate: 6.3 per 1,000 people
    - 2018 divorce rate: 3.6 per 1,000 people

    Although Florida has a very high divorce rate, this can in part be attributed to a diametrically opposite trend: marriage. Marriage rates have climbed steadily in Florida in recent years, creating a larger pool of people who have the potential to get divorced.

  • Georgia

    - Change in divorce rate 1990-2018: -54.5% (#4 biggest decrease among states with data)
    - 1990 divorce rate: 5.5 per 1,000 people
    - 2018 divorce rate: 2.5 per 1,000 people

    Georgia may have experienced a big decrease in divorce rates, but it still has some of the highest in the country. “It’s largely because we love marriage,” one of the state’s divorce lawyers has said, explaining that rates are high because more people in Georgia are still choosing to get married compared to states like New York and Illinois, meaning there is a larger pool available for divorce.

    You may also like: Do you know your state nicknames?

2018 All rights reserved.