Special Report

The States With the Most (and Least) Divorces

7. Pennsylvania
> Pct. population divorced: 9.7%
> Median household income: $52,007 (22nd highest)
> Pct. never married: 33.6% (13th highest)
> Pct. with bachelor’s degree: 28.7% (22nd highest)

A relatively small percentage of Pennsylvania’s population was divorced. This is true across all age groups, but particularly true among its senior citizens. Just 10.4% of Pennsylvania residents aged 65 or older were divorced. In contrast, a nation-leading 17% of senior citizens in Nevada were divorced. Higher incomes in states generally correspond to lower divorce rates for a variety of reasons. Pennsylvania’s median income of $52,007, however — while not extremely low — was just below the national median of $52,250, and also lower than every other state with a high proportion of divorced adults.

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6. Massachusetts
> Pct. population divorced: 9.5%
> Median household income: $66,768 (6th highest)
> Pct. never married: 36.3% (3rd highest)
> Pct. with bachelor’s degree: 40.3% (the highest)

As in most states with small divorced populations, Massachusetts’ median household income of $66,768 was one of the highest figures nationwide. High incomes help increase the mutual advantages available to married couples, and likely prevent stressful financial burdens, which often add challenges to maintaining a relationship. Massachusetts families with children were perhaps among the least likely groups to divorce. The median household income for families with children was $85,356, the highest in the country. State residents were also exceptionally well educated. More than 40% of adults had at least a bachelor’s degree, the highest rate nationwide.

5. Hawaii
> Pct. population divorced: 9.4%
> Median household income: $68,020 (4th highest)
> Pct. never married: 33.3% (16th highest)
> Pct. with bachelor’s degree: 31.2% (15th highest)

Hawaii is just one of a handful of states that has had a slight decline in divorce rates over the most recent decade. In 2005, 9.5% of the population was divorced. As of 2013, the most recent available year of data, 9.4% of Hawaiian adults were divorced. In some states, the rate has increased over that time by one percentage point or more. Hawaii has many of the indicators often closely related to lower rates of divorce. The state had a median household income of $68,020, the fourth-highest in the country. It had the fifth-lowest poverty rate as well, at just 10.8%, compared to 15.8% nationally. These relatively strong economic factors may have reduced the likelihood of marital conflicts in Hawaii.

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