Special Report

The States With the Most (and Least) Divorces

4. North Dakota
> Pct. population divorced: 9.4%
> Median household income: $55,759 (19th highest)
> Pct. never married: 32.2% (20th highest)
> Pct. with bachelor’s degree: 27.1% (20th lowest)

North Dakota residents in nearly all age groups were less likely than their peers in other states to get divorced. However, 20% of residents 45 to 54 were divorced, the 12th highest such figure nationwide and especially high compared to other states on this list. This may be partly due to the fact that just 1% of the population aged 45 to 54 were separated, an exceptionally low figure. Nearly 52% of North Dakotans were married — excluding separated couples — one of the highest percentages in the country. Just 60.4% of households were considered families, however, the lowest such percentage in the nation. Extremely favorable economic conditions largely account for the low incidence of divorce. Less than 3% of the state’s workforce was unemployed in 2014, the lowest jobless rate nationwide.

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3. Utah
> Pct. population divorced: 9.4%
> Median household income: $59,770 (11th highest)
> Pct. never married: 29.4% (13th lowest)
> Pct. with bachelor’s degree: 31.3% (14th highest)

Given it’s highly religious population, it would not surprise most to learn that no state has more married people relative to its population than Utah. Nearly 56% of Utah residents 15 or older were married, compared to Louisiana, the state with the lowest rate, where just 43.8% of adults were married. Higher rates of marriage tend to result in a higher volume of divorces, so it is remarkable that Utah has one of the lowest divorce rates in the country. One factor keeping the divorce rate so low may be the prevalence of families children in the state. Nationwide, 43.4% of families had children under the age of 18 living at home. In Utah, 52% of family households had at least one child living with them, more than any other state by a wide margin. Couples may be dissuaded from separating because of the emotional trauma they risk afflicting upon their children.

2. New Jersey
> Pct. population divorced: 8.7%
> Median household income: $70,165 (3rd highest)
> Pct. never married: 34.2% (10th highest)
> Pct. with bachelor’s degree: 36.6% (5th highest)

It may be no coincidence that New Jersey had both the lowest percentage of divorces — 8.7%, tied with New York — as well as the highest concentration of marriage and family therapists, at 45.7 per 100,000 residents. New Jersey also had the lowest incidences of mental illness and depression, which may have reduced the likelihood of marital conflicts. The median income among New Jersey families with children was $85,248, second only to Massachusetts. Wealthy households with children are among the least likely to experience divorce.

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1. New York
> Pct. population divorced: 8.7%
> Median household income: $57,369 (16th highest)
> Pct. never married: 38.3% (the highest)
> Pct. with bachelor’s degree: 34.1% (9th highest)

New York is tied with its neighbor, New Jersey, for the lowest percentage of divorces in the country. At least part of this likely has to do with how few New Yorkers opt to get married in the first place. Only 61.7% of New Yorkers, a national low, were either currently married or divorced, compared to 66.9% of all Americans aged 15 or older. New York’s younger couples were even less likely to be divorced than other residents. Just 2% of the state’s 20 to 34 year olds were divorced, compared to states like Arkansas, where more than 6% of that age group was divorced — the highest rate nationwide. This may be because people do not get married as early in New York — less than one quarter of state residents aged 20 to 34 were married. Nationwide, more than 30.5% of Americans age 20 to 34 were currently married.

Click here to see the states where the most people are divorced.

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