The marriage to divorce ratio in the United States is on the rise, according to new data collected by the American Community Survey (ACS) – meaning that overall divorce rates in the United States could be on the decline. The data, presented by the National Center for Family & Marriage Research, shows that In 2017, there were just over two marriages for every divorce in the United States, resulting in a marriage to divorce ratio of 2.2 marriages for every divorce: 2,319,672 marriages and 1,075,500 divorces.
The data reveals some surprising new information about divorce in the United States. One piece of information in particular that may come as a surprise to some is that every state in the U.S. has a larger number of marriages than divorces. The ratio is at its highest point since the American Community Survey (ACS) started collecting data in 2008.
Breaking down the numbers of the marriage to divorce ratio in the U.S.
- The states with the highest marriage to divorce ratios include the District of Columbia (5.9:1), Hawaii (3.4:1), and Alaska (3.3:1).
- The states with the lowest marriage to divorce ratio include Maine (1.3:1), Alabama (1.4:1), and Rhode Island (1.5:1).
- 48% of states showed an increase in the marriage to divorce ratio between 2015 and 2017, with Vermont experiencing the largest increase, jumping from 1.9:1 to 2.1:1.
- The states with the highest marriage to divorce ratios in comparison to the national average were: District of Columbia, Hawaii, Alaska, Wyoming, Utah, Kansas, Montana, North Dakota, New York, Illinois, Texas, Wisconsin, California, South Dakota, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Iowa.
- One-quarter of the states showed a decrease in the marriage to divorce ratio.
- Delaware had the largest decrease, shifting from 3 to 1.6 marriages per each divorce from 2015 to 2017.
- 26% of states held the same marriage to divorce ratio in 2017 as compared to 2015.
What Does This Mean for Divorce in the United States?
Between the years of 1990 and 2008, there was a significant increase in age-standardized divorce – but these numbers are limited to age. While divorce rates in the past two decades have increased among couples over the age of 35, younger couples are experiencing stable or declining divorce rates – which may explain the increase in the United State’s marriage to divorce ratio. Historically, divorce in the United States had been on the rise since the ’70s, when the marriage to divorce ratio was 3:1. These numbers are largely due to divorce rates among Baby Boomers, who account for the dramatic rise of divorce rates after 1970.
In the past, the odds that a marriage would end in divorce were almost 50%, but now statistics are showing that these numbers could change dramatically over the next few years and decades. Time will tell how these numbers will evolve, but if the trend continues, overall divorce rates in the United States may soon experience a decline for the first time in decades.