Key Divorce Statistics in 2023

01 - revealing divorce statistics

Most people know that 50% of marriages end in divorce, but is there more to the story? These divorce statistics provide further information about when and how marriages terminate in the United States. Continue reading to get the truth about who is divorcing whom.

Key Divorce Statistics in 2023

In 2021, 689,308 divorces in the 45 U.S. states provided this data.1 During the same year, there were 1,985,072 weddings, resulting in a marriage rate of 6 per 1,000 inhabitants in the United States.[1]

Over a year, many more individuals marry than divorce. These divorce data demonstrate what occurs when marriages fail and when and how couples decide to split.

How Many Marriages End in Divorce?

So, what about the well-known statistic that 50% of all marriages fail? That is correct, but only for first marriages, half of which are dissolved. Second and third marriages fail at a much greater rate.[2]

When Do Couples Divorce?

Marriages frequently terminate after some time has elapsed after the wedding. In reality, the typical marriage lasts eight years before ending in divorce.[3]

What are the costs and duration of a divorce?

Divorces are lengthy. Although uncontested divorces may be finalized in as little as three months, they often take over a year to complete.[4] Couples pay, on average, $7,000 to terminate their marriage, making divorce expensive.[4]

What Happens After Divorce?

However, many people who divorce do not abandon the institution of marriage. 64% of men and 52% of women remarry after their first marriage dissolves.[5]

Divorce Rates: Crude vs. Refined

Knowing there are two distinct ways to assess the divorce rate is essential.

  • The number of divorces per 1,000 individuals is called the crude divorce rate.
  • The precise divorce rate is expressed as the number of divorces for every 1,000 married women.

It’s often thought that the refined divorce rate is more accurate. Marital pattern changes may impact divorce rate statistics when calculated per population. However, data on divorce based only on divorces per married women may become less significant as more same-sex couples wed.[6]

Divorce Trends Over Time

Divorce trends have changed, with the number of persons ending their marriages declining.

Both marriage and divorce rates have declined over time.

In 2000, there were 944,000 divorces and annulments. The crude divorce rate that year was 4.00 per person. It has reduced to 2.5 per 1,000 people by 2021, with just 689,308 divorces that year.

Marriage rates have similarly declined, from 8.2 percent of the population in 2000 to 6 percent in 2021.[1]

The highest divorce rate—73%—occurs in third marriages.

Many people believe that 50% of all marriages result in divorce, yet as previously stated, this primarily pertains to first marriages. Those who marry several times have a far higher divorce rate. Divorce occurs in 67% of second marriages, and 73% of third marriages end in divorce.[2]

40% of new marriages include a remarried partner.

Most marriages (60%) include both parties’ first marriage. However, up to 20% of partnerships have one previously married individual, and another 20% are repeat weddings for both parties.[5]

Only 6% of divorced couples marry again.

Divorce is the formal end of a marriage. Yet divorce statistics reveal that spouses occasionally seek to remarry after legally terminating their partnership.

In reality, 6% of divorced couples remarry each other. When this happens, the chances of future success are pretty good. After rejoining, 72% of reunited couples stay married.[7]

Divorcees Are More Likely to Die Earlier Than Married People

Divorce may have unexpected (and long-lasting) repercussions. One of these outcomes is a higher chance of dying young. Unfortunately, divorcees have a death rate of 1,363 per 100,000, compared to 779 per 100,000 for married couples.

Divorced males bore the brunt of this increased risk, with death rates of 1,772 per 100,000 compared to 1,095 per 100,000 for divorced women.[8]

The Majority of Divorcees Own Their Home

Decisions regarding the family home are among the cruelest when a marriage dissolves, and a property settlement is finalized. This widespread problem must be addressed since 53.4% of divorcees in 2022 owned their own houses. Only 46.6% of people were renters.[9]

The chance of divorce among couples rises when they cohabit before getting married.

Living together before marriage is one indicator of divorce risk. 57% of couples who did not cohabitate before marriage had a partnership that lasted 20 years or longer, compared to 46% of couples who did cohabitate before marriage.[10]

Many reasons might account for this, including couples with greater religious values are less likely to cohabitate before getting married and to become divorced.

Having Friends Who Are Divorced Increases Your Risk of Divorce

The marital stability of a couple’s social network also influences whether their marriage lasts. Couples who have divorced friends are 75% more likely to have their marriage fail. Even teams two degrees apart from divorce have a 33% higher risk.[11]

Some sociologists think divorce is a social contagion resulting from this relationship.

The Most Common Causes of Divorce

Couples describe a wide range of reasons for terminating a marriage. However, these are the most often mentioned reasons for divorcing spouses.

Lack of commitment is the most frequent cause of divorce.

Success in marriage demands both partners to be committed to their partnership and serious about making it endure since marriage is only sometimes easy. Therefore, it is not shocking that a lack of commitment might lead to a couple’s dissolution.

75% of people and couples said a lack of commitment brought on their divorce. This was more often than adultery as a reason for a marriage breaking up.[12]

60% of divorcing couples cited adultery as the cause of their split.

Another common reason for divorce is infidelity, with 60% of couples attributing their breakup to one of their partners’ affairs. Trust may be lost when one partner violates the monogamy requirement, and the marriage may become permanently irreparably ruined.[12]

In 24% of cases, domestic violence leads to divorce

Abuse in the home is a severe crime. Additionally, divorced spouses often experience it. Domestic violence is cited as the reason for divorce in 24% of all divorces.[12]

The divorce procedure could be different when a couple decides to dissolve their marriage for this reason. Despite its advantages in typical circumstances, an uncontested divorce negotiated via a mediator may not be the best course of action since it may be difficult for an abuse victim to negotiate a settlement with an abusive spouse.

Money problems and fundamental incompatibility are two of the leading causes of divorce.

There are numerous other reasons why couples split up. Here are the top three grounds for divorce, which are not infidelity or a lack of commitment.[12, 13]

  • 58% of couples say they fight too much and argue too often.
  • 45 percent of divorced couples say they got married too young.
  • 38% said that money issues contributed to their divorce.

Infidelity, domestic abuse, and substance abuse are often the “Final Straw” leading to divorce.

Frequently, more than one issue contributes to a marriage breaking apart. These divorce statistics demonstrate the variety of problems that couples may encounter.

However, even when there are a number of problems, persons who divorce often claim that there is one “final straw” or decisive event that sends them over the edge and leads them to decide to end their marriage. In reality, this is what 69% of divorcing spouses claim to be the case.

With 24% of couples citing adultery as their breaking point, it was the most frequent problem that eventually led to divorce. For 21% of couples, domestic violence was the final reason for divorce, and for 12%, drug misuse was the determining factor.

It’s interesting how often partners differ over the breaking point in their marriage. In actuality, not a single couple cited the same decisive factor as the leading cause of their divorce.[12]

74% of women and 66% of men believe their partners should have put in more effort to keep the marriage together.

There is often enough blame to go around when a marriage dissolves. However, many individuals think they did all they could to keep their marriage while thinking their partner could have done more. In actuality, just 33% of women and 32% of men agree they should have done more to avoid divorce.[12]

More than 70% of couples claim they need to be more informed about the realities or stages of marriage.

One of the leading causes of divorce is a lack of understanding of what marriage involves. 72% of couples said that before getting married, they didn’t completely comprehend the commitment. Additionally, many divorcés expressed astonishment at how much their spouse changed during the marriage and their inability to deal with the growing number of issues.[12]

Divorce Rates by State

There are differences between states’ divorce rates. They are less likely to cohabitate before getting married and become divorced, as shown below.

States With the Highest Divorce Rates

Of all the U.S. States, Nevada has the highest divorce rate. In Nevada, there are 4.2 divorces for every 1,000 marriages. Nevada’s reputation for having liberal laws surrounding getting married and divorcing a spouse is one factor that may contribute to the state seeing an increase in divorces.[14]

State With the Lowest Divorce Rates

Massachusetts has a far lower divorce rate than Nevada, with only one divorce for every 1,000 marriages. One explanation for this is that people in Massachusetts marry on average later in life, lowering the likelihood of divorcing.[14]

Divorce Rates by Country

Although it is far from the nation with the highest number of divorces, the United States has a higher divorce rate than most other countries.

The crude divorce rate in the United States is 2.5[1], whereas the average divorce rate globally is just 1.8[15].

Maldives has the highest divorce rate, with a crude divorce rate of 5.52.

Some nations have divorce rates that are more than twice the global average. The Maldives has a crude divorce rate of 5.52, Kazakhstan has a rate of 4.6, and Russia has a rate of 3.9.[16]

The world’s nation with the lowest divorce rate in Sri Lanka.

Other nations, however, have divorce rates that are far lower than the worldwide average. The countries with the lowest divorce rates include Sri Lanka, which has a crude divorce rate of 0.15, Guatemala, which has the second-lowest divorce rate at 0.20; and Vietnam, which has the third-lowest divorce rate at 0.20.[16]

The tight regulations restricting when a marriage may be dissolved may account for the low divorce rates. For instance, unlike the more liberal no-fault system that is in place in the United States, divorce in Sri Lanka is mainly fault-based.

There are only two nations where divorce is prohibited.

Divorce is entirely prohibited in several nations. Vatican City and the Republic of the Philippines both forbid divorce.[17]

Divorce Rates by Profession

According to divorce statistics, a person’s employment might influence the risk that their marriage will terminate. Here are the occupations with the greatest and lowest rates of divorce.

Bartenders and gaming managers divorce at the highest rates.

The divorce rate surpasses 50% in several occupations. These include bartenders, who divorce at a rate of 52.7%, and gaming managers, who divorce at 52.9%. These occupations often require long hours beyond regular business hours, which may strain relationships further.

Actuaries Have the Lowest Divorce Rate

In certain occupations, the divorce rate is much lower—less than 50% of the often-stated 50% divorce rate. For instance, the divorce rate among actuaries is the lowest at just 17%. The chart also lists more occupations where divorce is less likely.[18]

The architectural and engineering sectors have the lowest divorce rate.

When looking at divorce rates by industry, architects, and engineers stand out for having low rates of marital breakup, as do the other occupations listed below.[18]

The highest divorce rate is in the office and administrative services sector.

Contrary to the design and engineering industries, the divorce rate in the office and administrative sectors is 40.6%. Additional vocations with higher divorce rates are included in the table below.[18]

Divorce Rates by Income

Couples with lesser salaries naturally have a greater chance of divorcing since financial issues are one of the primary sources of marital strife. But how high do the statistics on divorce indicate?

As income rises, the divorce rate steadily declines from 40% to 30%.

The likelihood of divorce tends to decrease as a couple’s income rises, but only up to a certain degree. Divorce rates stay consistent at roughly 30% after a couple has a household income of around $200,000. When family income hits $600,000, the divorce rate diminishes again and falls closer to 25%. However, the divorce rate progressively increases to 30% after earning $600,000.[18]

This indicates that raising one’s income may lower the likelihood of divorcing, but if revenue soars too high, a new set of issues may jeopardize the security of a marriage.

Couples living in poverty have higher divorce rates than other couples.

Extreme stress from living below the poverty line may adversely affect a marriage. According to one survey, as many as 46% of persons between 18 and 55 living in poverty are divorced.19 According to the American Community Survey performed by the U.S. Census 2022, 12% of men and 19% of women living in poverty divorced.[9]

Divorce rates are comparable for men and women who are not working.

The likelihood that a marriage will last might be impacted when one spouse does not work. Regardless matter whether a male or female spouse stays at home, this is true. For instance, in 2022, 21% of divorces featured males not in the labor force, and 22% involved women who were not employed.[9]

Divorce Rates by Age

According to divorce statistics, the age of each spouse at the time of marriage also affects how long a marriage will endure. The likelihood of divorce is more significant for couples who fall on the older and younger ends of the range.

Lower Divorce Rates for Couples Who Wed Before Age 32

For individuals seeking the lowest likelihood of divorce, there is a sweet spot regarding marriage age. This is because couples who marry at the age of 25 are 50% less likely to divorce than couples who marry at the age of 20—but for those who marry beyond the age of 32, divorce rates rise by 5% every year until they match.[20]

In 2022, the average age of divorcees was 46 for males and 44 for women.

People’s chances of ending a marriage rise as they become older. Indeed, 42% of persons aged 45 to 54 had been divorced. This makes sense since it takes time to be married and time for the marriage to collapse.

The average age of first marriage is rising.

Many couples have postponed marriage for various reasons, including financial constraints or shifting cultural standards. The median age of marriage in 2022 was 32 for males and 30 for women.

In 2012, the average age for women to marry was 26, while the average age for men was 28. These elder marriages may raise the likelihood of divorce if couples wait too long to marry and have additional challenges learning to cohabitate and blend their lifestyles.

The Divorce Rate of Baby Boomers Is Increasing

The divorce rate among Baby Boomers is increasing as they reach retirement age. The data on couples in this age range demonstrates the following.

  • Divorce is 46% among those aged 55 to 64.
  • Adults aged 65 to 74 are 39% more likely to divorce.
  • Adults aged 75 and up divorce at a rate of 24%.

Divorce Rates by Gender

Understanding divorce rates by gender is beneficial, mainly since it may give additional information on the precision of the refined divorce rate. This is the divorce rate as a percentage of the number of married women, while the crude divorce rate considers the number of divorces as a percentage of the population.

Women initiate 69% of Divorces.

Women are significantly more likely to initiate divorce than males. The female spouse starts roughly 7 out of 10 marital dissolutions. This is based on studies with heterosexual couples.[23]

Women often bear more of the mental strain in a relationship and are the primary caregivers for children. The additional load they encounter, mainly when they believe their support system is inadequate, may assist in explaining why they are more likely to initiate divorce.

The Divorce Rate for Women Is 7.6 per 1,000 Women Over the Age of 15

In 2019, 7.6 out of every 1,000 women over 15 were divorced. This is a significant decline from the previous year’s rate of 9.7 new divorces per 1,000 women aged 15 and above.[24]

Divorce Rates by Ethnicity

Divorce rates differ by ethnicity as well. Many reasons might account for these disparities, including different cultural norms around the institution of marriage and structural prejudices that hinder family formations in particular areas.

The divorce and marriage rates by ethnicity are listed below.

  • White couples divorce at a rate of 15.1%. These couples marry at a rate of 32.1%.
  • For Black couples, the divorce rate is 30.8%, while the marriage rate is 17.3%.
  • Hispanic couples divorce at a rate of 18.5% and marry at 33.2%.

Divorce Rates by Education Level

Education level influences the odds of a marriage succeeding, with those with more excellent education having a lower risk of divorce.

  • The divorce rate for those with a high school diploma or less is 39% for males and 37% for women.
  • Divorce rates for those with higher education (more significant than a bachelor’s degree) are 26% for males and 30% for women.
  • In 2022, 29% of males and 32% of women with a bachelor’s degree or higher divorced.

Women with a college education are more likely to have long-lasting marriages.

College-educated women are the demographic group most likely to have a long-term marriage.

Earning a degree reduces a woman’s chances of divorcing considerably. However, the advantages are only available after the degree is obtained. Women who go some college but still need to graduate are significantly less likely to stay married in the long run than their credentialed counterparts.

In contrast, whereas 78% of women with a bachelor’s degree have at least 20-year marriages, just 49% of women with some college education attain this milestone. Furthermore, just 40% of women with a high school diploma or less have a marriage that lasts 20 years or longer.[27]

Divorce Rates by Religion

Divorce is frowned upon by many faiths. However, this does not always imply that their followers adhere to these principles. Here’s how religion influences divorce rates.

The Religion With the Lowest Divorced Population Is Hindu

Only 5% of Hindus are divorced, even though 60% are married.

Evangelical Protestantism Is the Religion With the Most Divorcees.

More evangelical Protestants get divorced than members of any other religion. 55% of the population is married. However, 14% of them are divorced. This is more than twice as many divorced Hindus as there are.

Divorce rates among nonreligious/unaffiliated people are 11%.

Compared to those who identify as religious, those who do not practice a religion are less likely to get married and more likely to be divorced. Only 37% of those without affiliation are married, and 11% are divorced.

Divorce With Children

Due to the extra responsibility of caring, having children may strain a marriage. When children are involved, divorce becomes more challenging since concerns about child support and custody must be resolved.

According to data on divorce, many couples struggle with these challenges; in 2022, 18.7% of men and 38% of women will still be cohabiting with children under 18.

70% of Children Live With Both Married Parents

The proportion of kids who solely live with their moms has significantly grown, even though most kids live with two married parents. In 2020, 21% of kids lived alone with their mothers, up from just 11% in 1968.

Even though it is significantly less common, the number of children with only access to their father has substantially climbed in recent years. In 1968, just 1% of children lived alone with their dads; by 2020, this proportion had risen to 4.5%.

The likelihood of divorce does not increase when one has more children.

The good news for parents who want prominent families is that the likelihood of divorce does not rise as children age. For example, whereas 17% of couples with two kids divorced, this percentage fell to 13% for families with three kids.

Divorce Settlements

Statistics about divorce may help us understand how often divorce is and what to expect when a marriage dissolves. When their union ends, the couple might settle. Aspects like property partition, child custody, alimony, and child support will all be covered by this agreement.

Couples may go to the court where their attorney can assist them in persuading the judge to grant them the desired conclusion, or they can negotiate on these matters with the assistance of an expert divorce attorney.

Bill and Melinda Gates’ divorce was publicized. 

The most costly at nearly $76 billion.

Divorce becomes more complicated when wealthy people end their marriages since there is much more property to divide.

The dissolution of the marriage of Bill and Melinda Gates, which entailed an estimated $76 billion in property, was the most costly divorce in American history. Jeff Bezos and Mackenzie Scott reached the second most expensive settlement, costing a more reasonable $38.3 billion.

15% of Married Couples Report Signing a Prenup

The divorce procedure is significantly streamlined when married spouses have a prenuptial agreement. This prenuptial agreement clarifies essential concerns in the divorce as long as it is upholdable. When they can still communicate well with one another and come to a resolution, a couple may agree on these problems before getting married.

Even though prenuptial agreements are advantageous throughout the divorce process, only 42% of individuals approve of their usage, and in 2010, just 3% of all married couples engaged in one. And just 35% of those who have not been married said they would be inclined to sign a prenup.[32]

Those who decide against using a prenuptial agreement must hire a skilled divorce lawyer to assist in preserving their rights after their marriage is dissolved. To guarantee a prenuptial agreement is fair and enforceable in the future, an attorney may also provide advice while the contract is being drafted.