What are the statistics on divorce in America?

Check out these interesting facts on American divorce...

  • There is 1 divorce approximately every 36 seconds. That's nearly 2,400 divorces per day, 16,800 divorces per week, and 876,000 divorces a year.
  • The divorce rate for a first marriage is around 41%. The divorce rate is 60% for a second marriage and 73% for a third.  Cumulatively 1 in every 4 families will face divorce.
  • The average length for divorce proceedings is 1 year.
  • First marriages that end in divorce usually last approximately 8 years.
  • Approximately 6% of American couples marry, divorce, and then remarry each other.
  • The divorce rate for couples over 65 years old has doubled since 1980.
  • Marriages are more likely to last longer when people marry at an older age, have a higher education, and earn more money.
  • Contrary to popular belief, premarital cohabitation does not increase a couple’s divorce risk if the couple intends to get married.
  • The top 5 reasons for divorce include communication problems; infidelity or betrayal; financial problems; psychological, emotional, and physical abuse; and loss of interest.


  • Ronald Reagan is the only known U.S President to have been divorced.
  • Couples in Republican states are 27% more likely to divorce than couples in Democratic states, as Republicans have historically married younger than Democrats.

Male vs. Female

  • In 2/3 of all divorces, it's the woman who files. Additionally, while men are financially better off than women post-divorce, they typically suffer more emotionally.
  • The average age of divorce for a first marriage is 29 for women and 30.5 for men.  The average age of divorce for a second marriage is 37 for women and 39.3 for men.
  • Women on average wait 3.1 years to remarry after a divorce. Men wait 3.3 years.
  • A marriage in which a woman is 2 or more years older than her husband is 53% more likely to end in divorce than if the husband were 3 or more years older or only 1 year younger.
  • 79.6% of custodial mothers receive a support award, while only 29.6% of custodial fathers receive support.
  • 46.9% of non-custodial mothers totally default on support, while only 26.9% of non-custodial fathers totally default on support.


  • White women who marry outside their race are more likely to divorce than other ethnic groups. Mixed marriages involving blacks and whites were the least stable interracial marriage, followed by Hispanic-white couples.
  • Asian women are the most likely to be in a first marriage that lasts over 20 years. The CDC statistics show 70% of Asian women are still in their first marriage, compared to 54 % of white women, 53% of Hispanic women, and 37 % of black women.


  • Couples with children have a slightly lower divorce rate than couples without children.
  • If there is a daughter and no son in a marriage, the union is 5% more likely to end.
  • Having twins or triplets increases the risk of divorce by 17%.
  • Children of divorced parents are twice as likely to drop out of high school and less likely to attend college.


  • According to 2012 U.S. Census Bureau statistics, New Jersey has the lowest divorce rate out of all 50 states. Also with low divorce rates are New York, Connecticut, Delaware, and Massachusetts. The East coast in general has a divorce rate of less than 12%.
  • Nevada has the highest rate of divorce at 14.7%. Wyoming, Florida, Kentucky, and Tennessee all have rates of divorce over 13.%.


  • Dancers and choreographers reported the highest divorce rates at 43.1%, followed by bartenders at 38.4% and massage therapists at 38.2%. Other occupations in the top 10 include casino workers, telephone operators, nurses and home health aides.
  • Occupations with the lowest divorce rates include agricultural engineers, salespeople, nuclear engineers, optometrists, clergy, and podiatrists.
  • According to the Defense Department, the divorce rate of military couples rose from 2.6% in 2001 to 3.7% in 2011. The Air Force has the highest rate of divorce out of all the services.


  • If one partner smokes, a marriage is 75% more likely to end in divorce.
  • Divorced men are at an especially high risk of alcohol abuse. In contrast, divorced women’s alcohol consumption falls sharply after a divorce.


  • Women who have been diagnosed with cervical cancer are more likely to divorce by 40%. If a man is diagnosed with testicular cancer, the marriage is 20% more likely to divorce. On contrast, breast cancer survivors are 8% less likely to divorce than women who have not had breast cancer.
  • Men are eight times more likely than divorced women to commit suicide. They are also twice as likely to suffer depression and heart attacks.
  • If a spouse has gained more than 20% of his or her body weight, divorce is more likely.

Celebrity Divorce Facts

  • Mel and Robyn Gibson's divorce in 2009 is considered to be the largest celebrity divorce settlement, as Mel paid his ex $425 million.
  • The celebrity who has been married and divorced the most is actress Zsa Zsa Gabor, who has been married nine times.
  • Britney Spears holds the record for shortest celebrity marriage; her union with childhood friend Jason Alexander lasted only 55 hours before it was annulled.

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Edrie Pfeiffer
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Edrie Pfeiffer, Bankruptcy & Divorce Attorney