3.4 Per 1,000 Population Divorce Statistics

January 19, 2012 by staff 

3.4 Per 1,000 Population Divorce Statistics, Marriage and Divorce
Number of marriages: 2,077,000
Marriage rate: 6.8 per 1,000 total population
Divorce rate: 3.4 per 1,000 population (44 reporting States and D.C.)
In 2009, the divorce rate in the U.S. was 3.4 per 1,000 population; that’s more than 1 million divorces!


From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Vital Statistics Reports, Volume 58, Number 25 – Births, Marriages, Divorces, and Deaths: Provisional Data for 2009:
Divorce Rate: 3.4 per 1,000 total population
Number of Divorces: 1,038,500 (estimated from divorce rate of 3.4 per thousand and a population of 305.4 million)


From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Vital Statistics Reports, Volume 58, Number 25, Births, Marriages, Divorces, and Deaths: Provisional Data for 2009:
The divorce rate of 3.4 was exactly half the marriage rate of 6.8
The divorce rate is declining:
2007: 3.6
2008: 3.5
2009: 3.4
During those years, the marriage rate also declined:
2007: 7.3
2008: 7.1
2009: 6.8
According to data from the National Center for Health Statistics, the U.S. divorce rate has steadlily declined during the past decade:
National Divorce Rate Trends 2000-2007 (Note: 2008 & 2009 data added from above):
2000: 4.0
2001: 4.0
2002: 3.9
2003: 3.8
2004: 3.7
2005: 3.6
2006: 3.7
2007: 3.6
2008: 3.5*
2009: 3.4*
The divorce rate is highest in Nevada (6.5 per thousand population) and lowest in Massachusetts (2.3 per thousand population)
States with the Highest Divorce Rate:
Nevada: 6.5
Arkansas: 5.9
Oklahoma: 5.2
West Virginia: 5.1
Wyoming: 5.0
States with the Lowest Divorce Rate:
Massachusetts: 2.3
Iowa: 2.6
Illinois: 2.5
Rhode Island: 2.8
The U.S. divorce rate as a percentage:
The U.S. divorce rate has often been quoted as being 50% or higher. Even conservative estimates place it at 40% to 50%
The 50% figure may be derived from a flawed mathematical calculation based on annual marriage and divorce rates for a given year. For example: 6.8 marriage rate รท 3.4 divorce rate = 2 or 50%. The error here is that this assumes the subset of individuals getting divorced in any given year comes from the set of individuals getting married that year
Several web sites quote the following sources, however, we could confirm none of this information. In fact, we could find no viable source of data on the percent of any U.S. marriages – first, second or third – that, ultimately, end in divorce
References cited:

enrichment journal:
The divorce rate in America for first marriage is 41%
The divorce rate in America for second marriage is 60%
The divorce rate in America for third marriage is 73%
This information is found in the article “Single Adults – A Population Group Too Large to Ignore” By Dennis Franck. Franck cites his source as Marriage and Divorce Today, (1988) (out of print)
- needless to say his data is more than 20 years old…and out of print
Jennifer Baker of the Forest Institute of Professionals Psychology in Springfield, Missouri is frequently credited with the following quote: “The divorce rate in America for a first marriage vs. a second or third marriage is that 50 percent of first marriages, 67 percent of second marriages and 74 percent of third marriages end in divorce.”
We could find no original source for this information puts Franck’s and Baker’s statistics at the low and high end to provide the following range:
Divorce rate in America after first marriage is from 41% to 50%
U.S. Divorce rate after second marriage is from 60% to 67%
After 3 marriages the U.S. divorce rate is from 73% to 74%
Conclusion: the U.S. divorce rate as a percentage remains unknown and open to speculation. However, we can say that nearly one in four Americans age 20 and over has been divorced at least once. See source and information below
From the U.S.Census Bureau, Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) (2004 data):
24% of American men and women age 20 and over have ever been divorced; 78% have ever been married
61% have been married once
14% have been married twice
3% have been married three or more times
Asians have the lowest divorce rates, followed by Hispanics, then Blacks, with White, Non-Hispanics having the highest divorce rates

% Ever Married % Ever Divorced
All 78% 24%
All Males 76% 23%
All Females 81% 25%
White, Non-Hispanic 82% 27%
Males 79% 25%
Females 84% 27%
Black 63% 22%
Males 63% 22%
Females 63% 22%
Asian 79% 9%
Males 74% 8%
Females 83% 11%
Hispanic 74% 15%
Males 69% 13%
Females 79% 15%

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