Some Interesting Divorce Statistics


I credit my wife with the idea for this post. In a bit of a round-about way, she directed me to an article on state-by-state divorce rates. The raw data is from the National Center for Health Statistics. The article is on and is titled “Divorce Rates by State 2024”. 

Based on 2021 statistics, the most recent available, the five states with the highest divorce rates are:

  1. Nevada (4.2%)
  2. Oklahoma (3.8%)
  3. Wyoming (3.7%)
  4. Alabama (3.6%)
  5. Arkansas (3.6%).

The five states with the lowest divorce rates are:

  1. Massachusetts (1%)
  2. Illinois (1.3%)
  3. Texas (1.4%)
  4. Maryland (1.6%)
  5.  Kansas (1.9%)

The percentages are based on the number of new divorces per 1,000 females, aged 15 and older.

Where do our local states fit in? Pennsylvania is at 2.4%, New Jersey 2.2%, and Delaware 2.6%. Taking the statistics a step further and creating a ratio as to new divorces versus new marriages, a new marriage in Pennsylvania stands a 44% chance of ending in divorce; 43% in New Jersey; and 53% in Delaware.

Using this ratio to look at the national “leaders” shows a different story than the percentages above. In Nevada there may be a high number of divorces per 1,000 women but given Nevada’s marriage rate of 26.2 marriages per 1,000 women, the chances of a new marriage ending in divorce is only 16%. This probably has something to do with Nevada’s lax marriage and divorce laws. At the other end of the spectrum, Massachusetts may see only one divorce per 1,000 married women but the Bay State only sees 4.6 marriages per 1,000 women, a divorce to new marriage ratio of 22%. 

Other interesting factors in the article that go into more detail than what I note above are factors like age, education, religious beliefs, geography, and number of marriages.  The average age for a first-time divorce is 30 years old. Couples getting married between the ages of 20 and 25 are more likely to get divorced than older individuals. More educated individuals have lower divorce rates, as do those with strong religious beliefs. Those living in the Northeast have the lowest marriage and divorce rates while those living in the South and the West tend to have the highest marriage and divorce rates. Finally, and not unexpectedly, 35% to 50% of first-time marriages end in divorce; that increases to about 60% for second marriages and over 70% for marriages after number two. 

What does all this mean? While I am not 100% sure, it looks like there is plenty of work out there for those of us in the family law field, particularly in Pennsylvania. If you are considering marriage, and don’t want to end up divorced: finish college; move to the Northeast; go to your chosen house of worship regularly; and, wait to get married until you are at least 25.

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