The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted nearly every aspect of life, including spousal relationships. A spike in the divorce rate in China, Europe, and other places that have endured long periods of isolation could be a warning of what’s to come in the US.
Until the health crisis forced people to stay at home — creating problems among couples — divorce statistics were somewhat positive. Though fewer people were getting married, even fewer were 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 greater. It went from 10.5 per 1,000 women in 2008 to 7.7 per 1,000 women in 2018.
To determine the cities with the highest and lowest divorce rates, 24/7 Tempo reviewed the percentage of residents who are divorced in U.S. cities with a population of at least 20,000 people using the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2018 American Community Survey. The Census definition of divorced people includes those who are legally divorced and who have not remarried.
Among all Americans age 15 and older — some states allow people under 18 to get married with parental consent — 10.8% are divorced and have not remarried. An additional 2.0% 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 cities, a fifth of residents are divorced. In others, barely 1.0% of the adult population is divorced. Here is the divorce capital of every state.
Many cities with small divorced populations are religious communities. The three cities with the lowest divorce rates are Jewish ultra-Orthodox communities.
Many cities with high divorce rates are in states where dissolving a marriage is not a legally lengthy or difficult process. Five of the 10 cities with the highest divorce rates are in Florida, where only one of the parties filing for divorce must have lived in the state for at least six months. Also, Florida and a few other states with cities with high divorce rates are no-fault states. This means that the only reason the spouses have to give for filing for divorce is that their marriage is irretrievably broken.
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. None of the 25 cities on our list of cities with the highest divorce rates has a median family income higher than the national median income of nearly $74,000. In comparison, 17 of the 25 cities on our list of cities with the lowest divorce rates have a median family income significantly higher than the national average.
Working through a separation is a very stressful experience. While much of the stress is emotional, there is often a financial element as well. The cost of lawyers, as well as of the entire divorce process, can be high, running into the tens of thousands of dollars — here are the most expensive states to get a divorce.
While divorce is generally an expensive process, the cities with the highest rates of dissolution of marriage tend to be in states where the costs of a divorce are among the highest in the country. Eight of the 10 cities with the highest divorce rates are in the two states where divorce is most expensive.
The cities with the lowest divorce rates tend to be places where families in general are bigger. The average household size in the 25 cities with the smallest divorced population is between 2.8 and 5.7. In comparison, the average household size in the 25 cities with the highest divorced population is between 2.2 and 2.7.