Partnership is a personal matter and marriage, a legal recognition of partnership, is a major life event. But not all marriages last forever. Large segments of the American population have experienced the often extremely unpleasant personal and economic consequences of breaking ties with a spouse.
The divorce and annulment rate in the United States has fallen from 4.0 per 1,000 people in 2000 to 3.2 per 1,000 people in 2014. While marriages appear to be more stable, this reduction is also due in part to fewer marriages. Just over one in 10 people over the age of 15 are divorced and have not remarried. In a few cities, approximately one in six adults fit into this category.
Divorce has many causes, but it is more common in cities that share certain socioeconomic factors. For one, older populations tend to have higher divorce rates than younger populations. Marriages that end in divorce tend to last just under 10 years, so this trend may be due simply to the fact that there has been more time in these cities for marriages to go wrong.
Cities with fewer divorcees also have more residents who have never been married before. This is likely due in part to the average age of the population, but may also reflect a cultural trait of people who are less likely to divorce being more hesitant to wed.