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Divorce Statistics

The divorce rate in the United States is most often misquoted and misunderstood. Many people believe that “50% of all marriages in the United Stated end in divorce.” In all actuality, this is an inaccurate portrayal of the actual divorce rates in the United States. The marriage to divorce ratio has hovered around 2:1 since 2000. In other words, for every two marriages entered into in a given year, one divorce occurred. In 1990, for example, there were approximately 2.4 million marriages and approximately 1.2 million divorces. At first glance, that would seem like a 50% divorce rate. However, what must be considered is that virtually none of those divorces were among the people who had married during that year. Thus, the misnomer that 50% of all marriages entered into in the United States end in divorce is the result of a simple misreading of the statistics.

This misnomer has caused much concern over the mounting divorce rates in the United States. However, this concern may be unwarranted as the divorce rate in the United States has experienced a downward trend between 2000 and 2010. The charts set out below, composed by the Centers for Disease Control/National Center for Health Statistics National Vital Statistics System (CDC/NCHS), evidence this decrease. These charts also evidence the rate of marriage in the United States as well as the rate of divorce in the United States from 2000-2010. For more information regarding the relative marriage and divorce rates between men and women and across various racial, socio-economic and state-wide populations, view the following articles published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the United States Census:

 

Provisional number of marriages and marriage rate: United States, 2000-2010

Year Marriages Population Rate per 1,000 total population
2010 2,096,000 308,745,538 6.8
2009 2,080,000 306,771,529 6.8
2008 2,157,000 304,093,966 7.1
2007 2,197,000 301,231,207 7.3
20061 2,193,000 294,077,247 7.5
2005 2,249,000 295,516,599 7.6
2004 2,279,000 292,805,298 7.8
2003 2,245,000 290,107,933 7.7
2002 2,290,000 287,625,193 8.0
2001 2,326,000 284,968,955 8.2
2000 2,315,000 281,421,906 8.2

1Excludes data for Louisiana.

 

Provisional number of divorces and annulments and rate: United States, 2000-2010

Year Divorces & annulments Population Rate per 1,000 total population
20101 872,000 244,122,529 3.6
20091 840,000 242,610,561 3.5
20081 844,000 240,545,163 3.5
20071 856,000 238,352,850 3.6
20061 872,000 236,094,277 3.7
20051 847,000 233,495,163 3.6
20042 879,000 236,402,656 3.7
20033 927,000 243,902,090 3.8
20024 955,000 243,108,303 3.9
20015 940,000 236,416,762 4.0
20005 944,000 233,550,143 4.0


1Excludes data for California, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Louisiana, and Minnesota.
2Excludes data for California, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, and Louisiana.
3Excludes data for California, Hawaii, Indiana, and Oklahoma.
4Excludes data for California, Indiana, and Oklahoma.
5Excludes data for California, Indiana, Louisiana, and Oklahoma.