Southern States Divorce Rates

It would appear that states in the South, including Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas, have higher divorce rates than their Northeastern counterparts. That’s what is reported by the United States Census.

Is it really a demographic statistic or is it something more than just the location of the married couples? Do couples in the Northeast happen to find wedded bliss more frequently than couples in the South?

As it turns out, the only demographic role that’s played here is simply that there are more couples marrying in the southern portion of the country. That would naturally make it seem as though there are more divorces, but the comparison is really apples to oranges if we’re looking at numbers alone.

“Divorce rates tend to be higher in the South because marriage rates are also higher in the South,” said Diana Elliott, a family demographer at the Census Bureau. “In contrast, in the Northeast, first marriages tend to be delayed and the marriage rates are lower, meaning there are also fewer divorces.”

The numbers don’t seem to change upon examination of economic status, although divorce rates seem to be slightly higher among women than men. Along with higher divorce rates among women, it is also reported that women find themselves falling below the poverty line before divorced men to. Nationally, the rates of marriage were higher for men than for women. That seems opposite of the “more marriages, more divorces” rationale.

Widowhood also occurs differently among men and women. For example, in the last 12 month there were 3.5 instances of widowhood for men and 7.8 for women, per every 1,000 people.

It seems that divorce rates don’t have as much to do with demographic location as it does with gender.