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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:
- People Who Got Married and Divorced in the Past 12 Months by State: 2009
- Marriage and Divorces – Number and Rate by State: 1990 to 2009
- National Marriage and Divorce Rate Trends
- National Vital Statistics Report: Births, Marriages, Divorces and Deaths: Provisional Data for 2009
- Marriage and Cohabitation in the United States
- First Marriages in the United States
|Year||Marriages||Population||Rate per 1,000 total population|
1Excludes data for Louisiana.
|Year||Divorces & annulments||Population||Rate per 1,000 total population|
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.