Special Report

The Divorce Capital of Every State

Marriage is a legal recognition of the partnership between two people and a life-changing event for many. Though people vow to stay together through all the good, the bad, and everything in between, for various reasons some marriages don’t last forever.

There has been a lot of speculation that the COVID-19 pandemic will result in many marriages falling apart. However, there is some evidence that the public health crisis and the lockdowns, economic hardship, stress that came with it have actually brought people closer.

Even before the pandemic, divorce rates across the country were falling. The overall U.S. divorce rate hit a 50-year low in 2019 at 14.9 couples divorcing for every 1,000 marriages, according to Census data.

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 2019 American Community Survey to determine the divorce capital of each state.

Of all Americans age 15 and older — some states allow people under 18 to get married with parental consent — 10.9% are divorced and have not remarried. An additional 1.9% of people in that age group are separated but not legally divorced from their spouse.

The percentage of the population that is divorced varies from state to state and from city to city. In some places, nearly 30% of residents are divorced; in others – not even 15% are.

Couples decide to divorce for different reasons, but there are a few common ones. Some of the main reasons couples decide to divorce include lack of commitment, infidelity, arguing too much, and growing apart, according to the Institute of Family Studies.

Money is another fairly common reason for couples to call it quits. Couples who are struggling with money appear to be more likely to split up. Only six of the cities on our list have a median household income higher than the state median, and even in those cases the difference is small. In comparison, many of the other cities on our list with the highest divorce rate in their state have a median household income significantly lower – in two cases even less than half — than the state median.

Working through a divorce is still a very stressful experience. While much of the stress is emotional, there is often a financial element as well – this is how much it costs to get divorced in every state.

Click here for the city with the highest divorce rate in every state

To identify the divorce capital of every state, 24/7 Tempo reviewed the percentage of the 15 years and older population that is divorced from the Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey. Population figures are five-year averages through 2019. We only included cities, towns, villages, and census designated places with a population of at least 5,000. Data on household income also comes from the ACS. The Census definition of those who are divorced includes only people who are legally divorced and have not remarried. Those without a final divorce decree are classified as separated.

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