Marriages & Divorces in USA

The Pew Research Center recently released an analysis of data on marriage and divorce rates by state. The numbers are primarily drawn from Census Bureau’s 2008 Community Survey. An interactive map of the data is here.

Here are some highlights:

a) Marriage Rate: The state with the highest share of people who are currently married is Idaho, where 58 percent of men and 56 percent of women currently have a spouse. The District of Columbia has the lowest current marriage rate, at just 28 percent of men and 23 percent of women.

b) Divorces: Men in New York and New Jersey and women in North Dakota are least likely to be currently divorced. Nevada has the highest share of currently divorced men and women, at rates of 13 percent and 16 percent, respectively.

c) Divorce rates. The divorce rate — measured as the number of divorces within the previous 12 months per 1,000 women — tends to be higher in states where women marry young, as in Oklahoma and Idaho.

d) Education and income. Higher education levels are correlated with an older age at first marriage, and lower likelihood of being married three or more times. In states with lower income levels, men are more likely to have been married three or more times.

e) Religion. Pew Research Center did not find a strong correlation between a state’s religiosity — that is, the percentage of people who said religion was “very important” in their lives — and marriage or divorce patterns.

f) Marriage Age: In Arkansas and Oklahoma, men and women marry young — half of first-time brides in these states were age 24 or younger on their wedding day. These states also have above-average shares of women who divorced in 2007-2008. Massachusetts and New York residents marry late — half of ever-married New York men were older than age 30 when they first wed. These states also have below-average shares of men and women who divorced in 2007-2008.

Some interesting facts: The proportion of Americans who are currently married has been diminishing for decades and is lower than it has been in at least half a century. Currently it is only 52% of males and 48% of females (ages 15 and older). Arkansas has the highest married thrice or more population (1o%).

Also check out New York Times report on the research finding.

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