Special Report

These Cities are America’s Divorce Capitals

Hristina Byrnes

Fewer people are getting married, but even fewer are getting divorced, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In 2008, the marriage rate was 17.9 per 1,000 women; a decade later the figure was 16.6 per 1,000 women. The decrease in divorce rates was even more marked. It went from 10.5 per 1,000 women in 2008 to 7.7 per 1,000 women in 2018.

24/7 Tempo reviewed the percentage of residents who are divorced in U.S. cities with a population of at least 5,000 people using the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2018 American Community Survey to determine the divorce capital of each state.

Among all Americans age 15 and older — some states allow people to get married under 18 with parental consent — 10.8% are divorced and have not remarried. An additional 2% of people in that age group are separated but not divorced from their spouses. The percentage of the population that is divorced varies from state to state and from city to city. In some places, almost a quarter of residents are divorced; in others — just over a tenth are.

Couples decide to call it quits for different reasons, but there are a few common causes. Many studies over the years have tried to find an answer to why a marriage ends in divorce. Several of the reasons that are highlighted in almost every study include lack of commitment, infidelity, arguing too much, and growing apart, according to the Institute of Family Studies.

Money is also a fairly common reason for spouses to go their separate ways. Couples who are struggling with money appear to be more likely to split up. In all but six states, the divorce capital’s median household income is lower than the corresponding state median.

Working through a separation is a very stressful experience. While much of the stress is emotional, there is often a financial element as well. And lawyers don’t come cheap – here are the most expensive states to get a divorce.

Click here to see the divorce capital of every state.

Methodology

To identify the divorce capital of every state, 24/7 Tempo reviewed the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey 2018 5-Year Estimates to find the percentage of the 15 and older population that is divorced. Only places with a 15 and older population greater than 5,000 were considered. Data on household income and poverty rates also came from the ACS. The Census definition of those who are divorced includes only people who are legally divorced and who have not remarried. Those without a final divorce decree are classified as separated.