Back to Top

What are the Facts and Myths on Divorce Rate Statistics?

There is a common misconception that the divorce rate is at 50%. According to an April 6th article in The Washington Post, Who Gets Divorced in America, in 7 Charts by Ana Swanson, that is not true.  The actual divorce rate in the United States is much lower.  The incorrect data is normally arrived at by looking at the number of divorces and marriages per 1,000 people in a given year, and reaching a numerical conclusion.  For example, in 2014 there were 8.7 divorces and 17 marriages per 1,000 women in the United States.  If you divide 17 by 8.7, you get 51 percent.

However, the people marrying in 2014 are not the same people getting divorced, so this statistic is faulty.  When looking at the date over a longer period of time, the divorce rate is much lower.  The divorce rate peaked in the 1970s and early 1980s, and has been declining ever since.  Given the most recent data, only about one-third of American marriages end in divorce.  It is simply not the case that the divorce rate is at 50%, and it has probably never been quite that high.