Special Report

American Cities With the Highest and Lowest Divorce Rates

Every married couple walks down the aisle believing they will be together forever. Sadly, it doesn’t always work out that way, resulting in divorce. 

More than 29 million Americans, or roughly 11% of the adult population, have shed a spouse, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The Census considers only people who are legally divorced and who have not remarried. 

Those without a final divorce decree are classified as separated. Nearly 4.9 million, or 1.8% of the adult population, are separated. Married people number 127.5 million, or about 48% of the adult population. And about 91 million, or 34%, have never been married.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also monitor marriage statistics. It logs the number of divorces per 1,000 population. The rate of divorces and annulments per 1,000 population was 2.7 in 2019. (The CDC notes that California, Hawaii, Indiana, Minnesota, and New Mexico did not report that year.) 

That rate represents a significant decline from 2000, when there were 4.0 divorces per 1,000. (California, Indiana, Louisiana, and Oklahoma didn’t report that year.) What happened in the past decade to lower the rate? Largely, more people have been shunning traditional weddings, although they may be living together without the legal decree. In 2000, 2,315,000 people took their vows versus 2,015,603 in 2019. With fewer people getting hitched — at least officially — the lower are the chances of a split.

How does the U.S. stack up internationally? The World Population Review reports Russia has the highest divorce rate in the world at 4.7 per 1,000 population. The U.S. ranks around the average — 2.5 per 1,000 population. (These are the shortest celebrity marriages of all time.)

The situation of every couple is different, so there is no universal dynamic that drives couples apart. Ann Gold Buscho, Ph.D., author of “The Parent’s Guide to Birdnesting: A Child-Centered Solution to Co-Parenting During Separation and Divorce” writes in Psychology Today the reasons for divorce run the gamut from incompatibility and money conflicts to the age-old breaking point, infidelity. Couples who have lost the ability to communicate or be intimate are more likely to divorce, as well, she adds. Not surprisingly, abuse or addiction problems often lead to broken marriages.

In recent years, some unhappy couples have also stayed together to save on finances and avoid paying for a divorce. See how much it costs to get divorced in every state

To determine the 25 metro areas with the most divorce and the 25 with the least divorce, 24/7 Tempo reviewed the percentage of the population 15 and older that is currently divorced in the 384 U.S. metropolitan statistical areas using annual estimates from the Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey. Metros are ranked by the share of the divorced population. 

Data on the married, separated, never married, and total population also came from the ACS. All shares are of the 15+ population, not the total population, and are as of 2019.

If you want the best chance of happily ever after in the U.S., move to the Provo-Orem, Utah, metro area. There, 58% of the 15 and older residents are married, while only 5.3% are divorced. 

The worst metro area for wedded bliss is Hot Springs, Arkansas. There, nearly 17%% are divorced and about 47% are married.

Click here to see cities with the least divorces

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