Divorce Statistics in 2023 (Latest U.S. Data)

a couple going through a divorce

Cultural shifts have normalized and largely eliminated the stigma associated with divorce.

Divorce statistics suggest that despite divorce being really common, the number of divorces and divorce rates have declined across the U.S.

Divorce Statistics

Overview of statistics of divorce in the U.S.:

  1. There are over 900,000 divorces in the U.S. yearly, with over 2M marriages.
  2. In the U.S., there is one divorce every 30 seconds, 108 per hour, and 2,600 per day.
  3. About 42%-45% of all first marriages in the U.S. end in divorce.
  4. 69% of all divorces in the U.S. are initiated by women, 31% by men.
  5. The average duration of marriage that ends in divorce is 13 years.
  6. The average age for people going through a divorce is 41 years old.
  7. The average cost of a divorce in the U.S. is $19,458 per couple.
  8. Lack of commitment (73%) and constant arguing (55%) are the top reasons for divorce.
  9. 1 in 3 divorced custodial parents doesn’t receive any child support payments.

1. There are over 900,000 divorces in the U.S. yearly, with over 2M marriages.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s statistics on divorce, there are over 2 million new marriages and over 900,000 new divorces each year in the U.S. (1, 2)

new marriages and divorces in us by year
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In 2021 (latest data available), there were 2,052,806 new marriages in the U.S.

The marriage data suggests that the general marriage trend in the U.S. has been in decline in the last five years.

In 2021 (latest data available), there were 948,862 new divorces in the U.S.

The divorce data suggests that the general divorce trend in the U.S. has been in decline in the last nine years.

2. In the U.S., there is one divorce every 30 seconds, 108 per hour, and 2,600 per day.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s current divorce statistics, there is one divorce every 30 seconds. (2)

one divorce every 30 seconds in us
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In the U.S., there are approximately two divorces every minute, 108 divorces per hour, and 2,600 divorces per day.

In the U.S., there are approximately 18,247 divorces per week, 79,072 divorces per month, and 948,862 divorces per year.

3. About 42%-45% of all first marriages in the U.S. end in divorce.

According to divorce rate statistics published by the Institute for Family Studies, about 42% of first marriages in the U.S. end in divorce. (3) 

The divorce rate data also revealed that 50% of first marriages in the U.S. experience marital disruption via either divorce or permanent separation.

real divorce rate in us
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There is a commonly debated statistic that 50% of first marriages end in divorce. This statistic originates from research from the early 1980s, around the time when the crude divorce rate was peaking. (3)

Federal funding for the collection and publication of detailed marriage and divorce statistics

was suspended in 1996, and numerous states stopped regularly providing essential divorce statistics. (4)

Because of this, there is no complete record of the number of divorces that take place annually in the United States.

In addition, there is no single official metric for divorce by the scientific consensus. But, there are four common ways scholars measure divorce rates. (5)

1. Cohort Divorce Rate

The U.S. cohort divorce rate: 42%-45% of first marriages end in divorce (2015).

  • Pro: Provides the general risk of divorce for those marrying today. The measure used by most scholars.
  • Con: A sophisticated estimation of a calculated risk, not a hard, objective number. Very difficult to calculate.

2. Refined Divorce Rate

The U.S. refined divorce rate: 14 divorces per 1,000 married women (2021).

  • Pro: A precise annual number that gives the rate of divorce as a subset of the actual married population.
  • Con: Doesn’t provide the bigger, longitudinal number of divorces over time.

According to statistics on divorce rate published by the National Center for Family & Marriage Research, the U.S. divorce rate is at its lowest in 50 years, with 14 divorces for every 1,000 marriages. (6)

3. Percent Ever Divorced Rate

The U.S. Percent Ever Divorced Rate: 15.48% of women and 13.31% of men (2022).

  • Pro: Straightforward, easy-to-understand number.
  • Con: Includes all divorces, those who married badly then divorced—perhaps when very young—and are now in a subsequent strong, enduring marriage.  Fluctuates relative to the general marriage rate.

According to statistics of failed marriages by USAFacts, 15.48% of women and 13.31% of men in the U.S. have ever been divorced. (7)

4. Crude Divorce Rate

The U.S. Crude Divorce Rate: 2.5 divorces per 1,000 people in the population (2021).

  • Pro: Provides a large overview of divorce prevalence in a population. Best for comparing countries
  • Con: Not very useful, as it includes cohorts, like children and unmarried, who are not at risk of divorce.

4. 69% of all divorces in the U.S. are initiated by women, 31% by men.

According to marriage failure statistics published by the Frontiers in Sociology and Social Research, 69% of all divorces in the U.S. are initiated by women, 31% by men. (8, 9)

divorce initiation in us
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The sociological research suggests that 2 in 3 divorces are initiated by women while only 1 in 3 divorces are initiated by men.

From the 1940s onward, various sources indicate that women have played a leading role in initiating divorces in the U.S.

The failed marriages study suggests that women’s role in initiating breakups is unique to heterosexual marriage.

5. The average duration of marriage that ends in divorce is 13 years.

According to divorce statistics in the U.S. published by the National Center for Family & Marriage Research, the average duration of marriage that ends in divorce is 13 years. (10)

marriage duration until divorce in us
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The average length of a marriage that ends in divorce has increased from 11 years in 2010 to 13 years in 2020.

The increase in the median age at first divorce corresponds with rising median age at first marriage.

marriage duration before divorce by demographics
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The median duration of marriage at first divorce is 13 years for men and 12 years for women.

Among women, Asians and Native-born Hispanics had the longest of 16 years median duration at first divorce.

The shortest median duration of 10 years was among women who identified as Other/ Multiracial.

Among men, Foreign-born Hispanics had the longest 14 years median duration at first divorce.

The shortest median duration of 10 years was among men who identified as Other/ Multiracial.

6. The average age for people going through a divorce is 41 years old.

According to divorce statistics by age published by the National Center for Family & Marriage Research, the average age for people going through their first divorce in the U.S. is 41 years old. (11)

age for marriage and divorce us
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The median age at first divorce has risen despite the overall decline in the U.S. divorce rate.

In 1990, the average age for men in the U.S. undergoing their first divorce was 33.2 years, while the average age for women was 31.1 years.

In 2020, the average age for men in the U.S. undergoing their first divorce was 41.7 years, while the average age for women was 40.5 years.

7. The average cost of a divorce in the U.S. is $19,458 per couple.

According to the Self Financial divorce cost statistics, the average cost of a divorce in the U.S. is $9,729 per person and $19,458 per couple. (12)

average cost of divorce in us
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Children increase the average cost of divorce by approximately 32%.

The average cost of a divorce with children is $13,465 per person and $26,930 per couple.

A childless divorce decreases the average cost of divorce by approximately 10%.

The average cost of a childless divorce is $8,816 per person and $17,631 per couple.

average cost of divorce by state
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According to the Self Financial divorce industry statistics, California has the highest cost of divorce of $28,870 per couple, and Montana has the lowest of $12,340 per couple.

The most expensive U.S. states for divorce are California, with $28,870 per couple, New York, with $27,670 per couple, and Texas, with $25,584 per couple.

The least expensive U.S. states for divorce are Montana, with $12,340 per couple, New Mexico, with $13,274 per couple, and North Dakota, with $16,160 per couple.

8. Lack of commitment (73%) and constant arguing (55%) are the top reasons for divorce.

According to causes of divorce statistics published by the National Fatherhood Initiative, lack of commitment is the leading cause of divorce in the U.S. (13)

top reasons for divorce in us
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The top reasons for divorce in the U.S. are lack of commitment (73.2%), constant arguing and conflict (55%), and infidelity (54.6%).

The least common reasons for divorce in the U.S. are domestic work and childcare (21.6%), financial problems (28.4%), and domestic violence (29.1%).

The National Fatherhood Initiative study (2005) is the most recent large-scale report about the leading causes of divorce in the U.S.

Related: Infidelity Statistics (Latest U.S. Cheating Data)

9. 1 in 3 divorced custodial parents don’t receive any child support payments.

According to U.S. Census Bureau alimony statistics, about 1 in 3 divorced custodial parents don’t receive any child support payments. (14)

alimony after divorce in us
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The child support data suggests that only 48.9% of divorced custodial parents receive full child support payments.

About 22.5% of divorced custodial parents receive partial payments, and 28.6% don’t receive any payments.

The average child support payment for a divorced custodial parent is $593 per month and $7,120 per year. (15)

Sources

  1. U.S. Census Bureau. 2023. Marriages in the Last Year By Sex, By Marital Status for the Population 15 Years and Over. Link
  2. U.S. Census Bureau. 2023. Divorces in the Last Year By Sex, By Marital Status for the Population 15 Years and Over. Link
  3. Institute for Family Studies. 2015. What Is the Divorce Rate, Anyway? Around 42 Percent, One Scholar Believes. Link
  4. National Healthy Marriage Resource Center. 2017. Interpreting Divorce Rates, Marriage Rates, and Data on the Percentage of Children with Single Parents. Link
  5. Public Discourse. 2015. What is the Actual US Divorce Rate and Risk? Link
  6. National Center for Family & Marriage Research. 2021. Divorce Rate in the U.S.: Geographic Variation, 2021. Link
  7. USAFacts. 2023. Currently divorced people as a percent of people who have ever been married. Link
  8. Rosenfeld, M.J. (2018). Who Wants the Breakup? Gender and Breakup in Heterosexual Couples. In: Alwin, D., Felmlee, D., Kreager, D. (eds) Social Networks and the Life Course. Frontiers in Sociology and Social Research, vol 2. Springer, Cham. Link
  9. American Sociological Association. 2015. Women More Likely Than Men to Initiate Divorces, But Not Non-Marital Breakups. Link
  10. National Healthy Marriage Resource Center. 2020. Duration of Marriage at First Divorce, 2020. Link
  11. National Healthy Marriage Resource Center. 2020. Median Age at First Divorce, 2018. Link
  12. Self Financial. 2023. The Cost of Divorce: Where is it most expensive? Link
  13. National Fatherhood Initiative. 2018. A National Survey on Marriage in America. Link
  14. U.S. Census Bureau. 2020. Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support. Link
  15. Alimony numbers were inflation-adjusted with U.S. Inflation Calculator. Link

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