Many believe that 50% of marriages will end in divorce today. Is this a true statistic or more of an urban legend? In reality, fewer than 5% of marriages actually end in a divorce over the course of any given year. When all of those divorces add up over time, it can cause up to 40-50% of all total marriages to end in divorce.
Over the course of any given year, however, the chances for a specific marriage to end in divorce is less than 5%. That percentage is not accumulative. This means if both parties are willing to work on their relationship, there is a good chance that they can overcome any odds in order to remain together.
There are times when divorce is necessary. There can be times when divorce seems trivial. These divorce statistics are not a commentary on the righteousness, need, or lack of a need to divorce. They are simply the facts that reflect the state of modern relationships from an overall perspective.
Statistics About Divorce in the Modern World
1. There are currently more than 2.1 million marriages in the United States right now. (CDC)
2. The current marriage rate in the United States is 6.9 per 1,000 in total population. (CDC)
3. Using current reporting data, which includes 44 states and the District of Columbia, the current divorce rate is 3.2 per 1,000 in total population. (CDC)
4. In 2011, there were 877,000 total divorces and annulments that were recognized in the United States, though six states were excluded from this data. This number is lower than the divorces and annulments registered annually from 2000-2004, where up to 955,000 divorces and annulments were registered. (CDC/NCHS)
5. In 2002, 59% of the US population was currently married. That is down from 62% in 1990 and 72% in 1970. (Divorce Magazine)
6. 1 in 4 people in the general population has never been married. (Divorce Magazine)
7. For men, their average age at the time of their first marriage is 26.9. For those who experience a first divorce, the median age is 30.5. This means the average first marriage for the average man in the United States will last for fewer than 4 years. (Divorce Magazine)
8. For women, their average age at the time of their first marriage is 25.3. Their median age at their first divorce is 29. This means that women in their first marriage will also stay married for an average of less than 4 years. (Divorce Magazine)
9. For men that will get remarried after a first divorce, they will generally wait 3.5 years between the ending of their first marriage and the beginning of their second marriage. (Divorce Magazine)
10. Women who decide to get remarried after a first divorce will wait 3 years to get remarried, 6 months quicker than men in a similar situation. (Divorce Magazine)
11. The median age for men who experience a second divorce is 39.3, while the median age for women who experience a second divorce is 37. (Divorce Magazine)
12. 82% of people who get married will reach their 5th anniversary. 65% of marriages will make it to their 10th anniversary, while 52% will make it to the 15th anniversary. These figures also include the death of a spouse, which occurs 7% of the time. (Divorce Magazine)
13. Just 5% of marriages will make it to the 50th anniversary. (Divorce Magazine)
14. In 2011-2013, 60% of women and 67% of men believed that living together before marriage may help to prevent a divorce. (CDC)
15. 39% of men and 38% of women believe that divorce is usually the best solution when a couple can’t seem to work out their marriage problems. This is down dramatically from 2002, when 46.7% of men and 44.3% of women believed the same thing. (CDC)
16. 3 out of 4 people believe that it is okay to have and raise children when the parents are living together, but not married. (CDC)
17. If current marriage and divorce trends continue, then 2 out of 3 current marriages will never experience a divorce. (New York Times)
18. 67% of divorces that occur are initiated by women, which means changes in the divorce rates are also a reflection in the change that women have had in their expectations regarding marriage. (New York Times)
19. The decreases in divorce rates being experienced in the United States is concentrated among people with college degrees. With less education, the divorce rates being experienced in those demographics is close to all-time highs. Of college-educated people who were married in the early 2000s, only about 11% were divorced before they reached their 7th anniversary. Among people without college degrees, 17% of them were divorced. (New York Times)
20. 4 of the top 10 cities that experience the highest divorce rates are located in Florida. Panama City is ranked 1 for divorce rates in the United States. Deltona is ranked 6th, Palm Bay is ranked 8th, and Jacksonville is ranked 9th. (Huffington Post)
21. Colorado is the only other state in the US that has multiple cities make it into the Top 10 of divorce rates. Pueblo is ranked 7th in the country, while Grand Junction is ranked 10th. (Huffington Post)
22. Other cities in the Top 10 in the US for their divorce rates include Sierra Vista, AZ (2nd), Charleston, WV (3rd), Medford, OR (4th), and Reno, NV (5th). (Huffington Post)
23. Except for Minnesota, all of the states with the lowest divorce rates in the US are all located in the Northeast. Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Minnesota all have a divorce rate that is between 6.05-7.65 per 1,000 people above the age of 15. (Huffington Post)
24. All of the states in the US which have the highest divorce rates in the country are located within the so-called “Bible Belt.” Mississippi, Kentucky, Arkansas, and Oklahoma all have a divorce rate that is above 12.64 per 1,000 people above the age of 15. (Huffington Post)
25. Fewer people get married or divorced during a time of recession. (Huffington Post)
26. 32% of men and half of all women have already been married at least once before they reach the age of 25. (Divorce Magazine)
27. By the age of 55, 95% of men and women have been married at least once. (Divorce Magazine)
28. There are currently 5.5 million unmarried couples who are currently living together, which means if they decide to separate, it would not contribute to the current divorce rates. (Divorce Magazine)
29. 9.2% of all households in the United States are run by single mothers. Another 1.9% of households are run by single fathers. (Divorce Magazine)
30. 23% of children under the age of 18 are living with their mother only in the United States. Just 5% of children under the age of 18 are living with their father only. (Divorce Magazine)
31. Just 6.8% of marriages have the wife only employed in the United States. In comparison, 22.4% of marriages have only the husband employed. (Divorce Magazine)
32. Over 5,000 couples divorce every day in China. (Huffington Post)
33. Spain, Portugal, Luxembourg, the Czech Republic, and Hungary all have divorce rates that are listed as being above 60%. (Business Insider)
34. Belgium has the highest rate of divorce, with a rate that is currently at 70%. (Business Insider).
35. The lowest official divorce rate in the world today comes from Chile, which registers a marriage failure rate of just 3%. (Business Insider)
36. Between 1995-2014, there were four countries that saw their divorce rate fall by at least 2 marriages per 1,000. These countries were Mexico, Chile, Luxembourg, and South Korea. (OECD)
37. There is a direct correlation in the divorce statistics which shows a higher median age at the time of a first marriage will create a lower overall divorce rate. (OECD)
38. Religious practices are believed to reduce the potential of a divorce if both members of the marriage are active in their faith. Active Catholics are 31% less likely to divorce than the general population. Protestant couples are 35% less likely to divorce, while Jewish couples are 97% less likely to divorce. (Christianity Today)
39. Couples that are religious, but not actively practicing their faith, have divorce rates that are similar to those of the general population. (Christianity Today)
40. In the United States, the divorce rate amongst practicing Muslims is 37%, which is still lower than the published rates of the general population. (Sound Vision)
41. The current divorce rate in the United States is double that of what it was in 1960, but has also been halved since it peaked in the early 1980s. (Sound Vision)
It should be noted that virtually all of the divorce statistics that are currently available have come at a time when same-gender marriages were not officially recognized. That is why the data looks at male/female relationship dynamics only. In the coming years, the divorce statistics may look very different because of the changing definitions of marriage that are filtering through many nations around the world.
Blog Post Author Credentials
Louise Gaille is the author of this post. She received her B.A. in Economics from the University of Washington. In addition to being a seasoned writer, Louise has almost a decade of experience in Banking and Finance. If you have any suggestions on how to make this post better, then go here to contact our team.