How Many Marriages End in Divorce [Fascinating Facts and Stats]
Last Updated: March 30, 2023
Ever wondered how many marriages end in divorce?
Even though it may be hard to imagine any of those perfect couples gazing at each other down the aisle being able to break their vows, sometimes things just don’t work out—and for more than one reason.
Dive into the intriguing and fascinating divorce statistics and discover how factors like age, gender, finances, and more affect the likelihood of someone getting divorced, as well as what the most common reasons to do so are.
Let’s take a look at the facts.
How Many Marriages End in Divorce: Fascinating Facts and Stats
- Approximately 40% of all marriages made in the US will end in divorce or separation.
- Nevada was the state with the highest divorce rate in the US in 2021, with 4.2 divorces on 1,000 of the population.
- The divorce rate in the US is the 6th highest in the world.
- The divorce rates among US citizens older than 50 have almost doubled since the 1990s.
- More than half of divorces (60%) involve persons aged between 25 and 39.
- The average length of a first marriage that ends up in divorce is 8 years.
- The average cost of divorce in the US is $15,000.
- The top three reasons for divorce are infidelity (28%), incompatibility (43%), and finances (22%).
Divorce Statistics 2022
Speaking about divorces, let’s start from the recent ones, shall we? There seems to be a trend in divorce rates going down in several states following the COVID-19 pandemic.
1. According to the record of the Superior Court of California, year-to-year divorce rates in Los Angeles, CA went down by 17.3% from March 2020 to February 2021, compared to the previous year.
(The NewYork Times)
During 2020, fewer citizens filed for divorce in Rhode Island, Missouri, Florida, and Oregon as well.
During the pandemic, many couples found themselves spending more time with their partner due to national lockdowns. While this caused some relationships to take an unexpected turn or change their usual pattern for the worse, many found a new opportunity to straighten their relationship.
2. Research from February 2021 found that 17% of respondents felt the pandemic straightened their relationship.
(The New York Times)
For some, the time spent in isolation with their family or partner made their relationship stronger, their communication better, and had an overall positive impact. Not just on their marriage, but also on the divorce statistics in 2022!
But what about the other side of the coin, the couples who’ve gone from bad to worse due to spending a lot of time isolated from society?
3. After lockdown, domestic violence incidents in the US increased by 8.1%.
This is an unfortunate side effect of the pandemic and the measures taken to protect the population. The pattern of abuse can spike in such an environment, and the pandemic only made it worse, as it made it harder for many domestic abuse victims to seek help.
However, domestic abuse is a much larger scale problem, considering the estimation that one in three women older than 15 has been subject to non-partner sexual violence, violence from their partner, or both, at least once in their life.
Interesting Divorce Rates in the US
When it comes to the U.S, the divorce rate by state can vary significantly. States have different laws regulating the process, as well.
4. Nevada was the state with the highest divorce rate in 2021, with 4.2 divorces on 1,000 of the population.
What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, right? Apparently, yes—the fact that Las Vegas is a popular wedding destination combined with the simple procedure for getting married made Nevada the state with the highest number of divorced marriages in 2021.
5. Approximately 39% of all marriages made in the US will end up in divorce or separation.
Not so encouraging statistics if you’re about to tie the knot, or have done so recently. However, the answer to the question of how many marriages end in divorce in America used to be around 50%, so this is good news after all.
6. The average divorce rate for the US in 2020 was 2.3 per 1,000 of the population.
For the same year, the national marriage rate was 5.1. Interestingly, both divorce and marriage rates have dropped compared to the 1900s, although it’s a lot easier to get divorced nowadays due to no-fault divorce, as well as the possibility of using an online service for your divorce.
7. The US has the 6th highest divorce rate in the world.
(Heath Baker Law)
Although this is quite a high place for the divorce rate in the US, the champion in this category is Russia, with 4.8 divorces per 1,000 of population. Gibraltar and Belarus also have higher divorce rates compared to the US.
8. 41% of all first marriages will most likely end in divorce.
(Wilkinson & Finkbeiner)
Well, a percentage this high will burst some bubbles.
Interestingly, the possibility of a successful marriage decreases with the number of marriages a person has. Studies found that approximately 60% of second marriages and a whopping 73% of third marriages end in divorce.
It seems that “happily ever after” is not as far after as it sounds. Here’s how the divorce rate by length of marriage looks like.
9. The average time couples spend in their first marriage that ends in divorce is 8 years.
The possibility of a relationship failing within the first five years of marriage is estimated to be 20%, and this percentage grew approximately 12% in the previous 10 years.
On the other hand, some studies suggest that after the 10th anniversary, the chances of divorce decrease.
Divorce Statistics by Age
10. Compared to the 1990s, the divorce rates among adult people in the US older than 50 increased significantly.
Divorce in this specific demographic group, often referred to as gray divorce, is predicted to continue to rise in the next period. Today, approximately one in four people over 50 goes through a divorce, compared to 1 in 10 of the same age divorced in the 1990s.
Considering that couples in this age group have spent many years together and often have adult children and even grandchildren, the divorce may have an even greater impact.
11. Divorce rates among millennials, as well as their marriage rate, have decreased compared to previous generations.
(Wilkinson & Finkbeiner)
Millennials have different views on family and marriage than the previous generations. Often being children of divorced parents, millennials tend to marry at an older age, as well as to divorce less. There are claims that this generation is to blame for the decline of both marriage and divorce rates in the US since 2016.
Baby Boomers, on the other hand, are known as the generation that got the most divorces.
12. More than half of divorces (60%) involve persons aged between 25 and 39.
When you look at these numbers, you can conclude gray divorce isn’t the most common kind of divorce. This doesn’t make it any less important, but the average age of a person going through their first divorce is 30.
13. The teenage marriage divorce rate is higher than with people that marry in the adult years.
(Wilkinson & Finkbeiner)
According to data, 48% of people who marry before the age of 18 get divorced before reaching their 10th anniversary. If the marriage happens after the age of 25, that percentage drops to 25%.
A general conclusion is that people who marry young have less chance of making the marriage work.
Who Gets Divorced?
Problems in communication, different expectations, and sometimes even family members (parents or in-laws) can contribute to the end of a marriage. However, various other factors determine whether the chances for divorce are lower or higher.
14. The divorce rate by income suggests there’s 30% less chance of divorce with people making $50,000 annually compared to those making under $25,000.
(Wilkinson & Finkbeiner)
The divorce rates are higher among the population with lower and very high-income levels, so the ones in the middle in terms of income rates have the most promising future when it comes to staying married.
It’s also the case if people married have higher education and sometimes work in a particular industry, but religion can also be a factor when opting for divorce.
15. According to a study conducted by Pew Research Center, 74% of divorced or separated adults are Christians.
(Pew Research Center)
There are different divorce rates by religion, which is one of the important factors when it comes to divorce—surprisingly, believing in God doesn’t necessarily make people stay together.
The same study found that 66% of the people surveyed have absolute belief in God, and 61% pray daily, as well as feel spiritual well-being at least once a week. 57% of them consider religion very important, so it’s clear how the aspect of religion may influence many marriages.
16. Strong religious beliefs lower the chances of couples getting divorced by 14%.
(Wilkinson & Finkbeiner)
Also, a person not having religious beliefs leads to a higher risk of divorce by the same percentage.
Regardless of religion, some people find divorce morally wrong, as per the 17% of participants in one survey. 79% of the respondents disagree.
17. When looking at divorce statistics by gender, women usually make the first step towards divorce.
In approximately 66% of the cases, the wife is the one to file for divorce, and the number can spike up to 75% in some years. Are they braver, more determined, or simply more realistic—we can’t say, but either way, this isn’t an easy step to make.
And, it can have serious consequences on their finances as well.
18. Women who divorced in the previous 12 months were more likely to experience poverty compared to recently divorced men.
(US Census Bureau)
Approximately 20% of women and 11% of men were likely to be in poverty after divorce. Financial insecurity can be quite concerning for any person deciding to file for divorce and continue in a separate household without their partner.
However, the process of getting a divorce isn’t cheap either.
19. The average cost of divorce in the US is $15,000.
(Wilkinson & Finkbeiner)
The question of how much does a divorce lawyer cost may be one of the reasons for the divorce rate to go down following the pandemic, despite some predictions.
Considering that many people experienced financial difficulties and insecurity about what’s to come, it’s understandable that drastic steps towards changing their marital status were put off. Especially considering the legal fees of getting divorced.
But sometimes, there’s just no other way.
The Most Common Reasons for Divorce
The decision to end one’s marriage is never easy, but sometimes it just has to be made, like in cases of constant conflict or abuse.
Although reasons can vary, some red flags may suggest that a relationship is over.
20. The top three reasons for divorce are infidelity (28%), incompatibility (43%), and money issues (22%).
(World Population Review)
According to the US Census Bureau survey, these were the most common reasons that prevented a marriage from being successful. This data answers the question of how many marriages end in divorce after cheating, and it’s just under 30%.
Some of the other often stated reasons are lack of commitment, bad communication, lack of intimacy, but also addiction, and some family members.
21. A husband reporting a close relationship with his wife’s parents makes the divorce risk go down by 20%.
On the other hand, if the wife has the same connection with her in-laws, the risk of divorce increases by the same percentage. According to a 26-year long study, the relationship with your in-laws has different effects depending on your gender.
Although the intriguing question of how many marriages end in divorce because of in laws doesn’t provide a precise answer, it’s an interesting one for sure.
22. Less than 10% of divorcing couples decide to seek professional help.
Marriage counseling can be a good way to talk about your relationship and ways to improve it, but it can also point out when divorce is the best solution.
However, 97% of couples who attended divorce counseling found it helpful in one way or the other.
Divorce does have its fair share of factors that influence it. Some are much more intriguing than others, but all of the listed facts contribute to the general picture of divorce rates in the US.
Although it’s not very encouraging to know the US ranked 6th by divorce rate in the world, note that the divorce rate has been lowering in the last few decades, a trend that’s likely to continue on a larger scale.
According to recent data, the top reason for divorce is incompatibility (43%). A broad term, we hear you—but it’s often not easy to determine a single cause of a marriage failing. It’s more of a series of challenges in communication, conflict, different expectations from a relationship, and similar issues.
Based on the marriage (6.1) and divorce rate (2.7) per 1.000 total population of the US, the divorce rate in 2022 is expected to be at least 44.2%.
In the US, the general estimation on how many marriages end in divorce is around 40%. The percentage increases with the consecutive number of marriages, so we have data stating that around 70% of third marriages end up with divorce. The percentage is 41% for first, and approximately 60% for second marriages.