States With the Highest Rates of Divorce

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Detailed Findings & Methodology:

Financial burden may contribute to a failed marriage. In the states with the highest divorce rates, the median household income tends to be lower than the nationwide figure. In fact, in nine of the 10 states with the highest rates of divorce, the median household income falls below the national median of $57,617 a year. Earning a lower income can be especially unsettling in a marriage with kids who are financially dependent on their parents.

At the other end of the spectrum, in seven of the 10 states with the lowest rates of divorce, the median household income is above the national figure. In fact, the median income in three of those states is above $70,000 a year. Less stress over finances likely reduces tension in a marriage.

Unemployment may also cause frustration in a marriage. In the states with the highest rates of divorce, four of the 10 had unemployment rates that exceeded the national rate of 4.9% in 2016. Tennessee and Oklahoma are two of the states with the highest rates of divorce with jobless rates that don’t exceed the national rate, but rather, are near or equivalent to it. The unemployment rate in Tennessee is just 0.1 percentage point below the nationwide rate at 4.8% whereas Oklahoma’s rate is identical to it at 4.9%. In the states with the lowest rate of divorce, only two of the 10 have unemployment rates greater than the nationwide rate.

To identify the states with the highest rates of divorce, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) on the number of people who divorced in 2016 and the total number of married individuals in 2015. The divorce rate is defined as the number of people who divorced per every 1,000 married individuals. Since 2013, the ACS has included data on same sex marriages. We retrieved the median household income from the ACS and the unemployment rate from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, both for 2016. The 2016 average cost of a wedding in every state came from wedding industry research company The Wedding Report, Inc. The rank is based on the rate of divorce in each state.

The U.S. Census Bureau broke down marriage status into five categories: never married, now married except separated, separated, widowed, and divorced. The category of now married except separated consists of people who are married but excludes those who are still married but legally separated. The separated category consists of people who are still married but legally separated.