Divorce Rates by Country: Divorce Trends Around the World
Marriage is an incredibly important institution in every aspect, both for the happy couple and the society and state they are living in. Marital stability is often a sign of a prosperous country, but can also indicate other trends in the country. Marriage rates give us an idea of how likely people in a specific location are to get married, but the fact that marriages end should also not be ignored. Marriage ending is certainly an unfortunate outcome. But how common is it for married couples to get divorced? Our guide to crude divorce rates around the world will tell you everything.
What Is a Crude Divorce Rate?
Crude divorce rate refers to the number of divorces taking time over a specific period of time for every 1,000 citizens. Divorce rates are calculated in the same way in nearly all United Nations countries. This standardization allows us to get timely information from different parts of the world and compare data accurately, finding the lowest divorce rates and highest divorce rates worldwide.
Divorce Rates: The Number of Divorces per 1,000 People Globally
You can probably guess that the size of the divorced population differs from country to country and even from region to region. Right now, we will look at the divorce rate in the world and find out how many divorces happen globally for every 1,000 people.
US, UK, Canada, and Australia
The US, UK, Canada, and Australia are all countries associated with economic stability, gender equality, and women’s freedom of choice. But how do these notions impact the number of marriage dissolutions in the English-speaking world? Let’s find out in detail.
Right now, the divorce rate in the United States is 3.2 per 1,000 of the population. However, it’s worth remembering that the US is not a homogenous country, so different states can have different views on family structures and therefore different divorce rates. Specifically, states with the highest divorce rates include Arkansas, Oklahoma, Nevada, and New Mexico, while states with the lowest divorce rate include Maine, South Dakota, New York, and Pennsylvania.
In the UK, the latest statistics reveal the number of divorces to be 7.3 per 1,000 individuals. This doesn’t include same-sex couples, who can also get married legally in the United Kingdom. The areas with the highest number of couples who initiate divorce include London, Norwich, Hastings, and Blackpool. The number one reason cited by UK couples seeking a divorce is unreasonable behavior, with adultery being a close second.
Surprisingly enough, with rising divorce rates in many world regions, Canada’s divorce rates declined over the past several years. From 2016 to 2020, divorce rates have fallen from 1.7 to 1.1 per 1,000 of the population. This is in part due to Canada also having a relatively low marriage rate: many couples choose to simply cohabitate together without officially tying the knot, which means they also don’t need to go through a divorce process should they choose not to live together anymore.
Finally, the current divorce rate in Australia is 2.2 per 1,000 Australian citizens. This is one of the lowest divorce rates compared to many Western-speaking countries but is still higher than that in Canada.
Similarly to the English-speaking world, Europe appears to be a region that has its economic and social affairs in check. But how does Europe’s socioeconomic situation impact the marital status of its citizens? Let’s look at key European regions and their divorce statistics.
In most Western European countries, the marriage rates have gone down in recent decades, while the average age of first marriage increased. As for the divorce rates by country, here are the ones you should know about. Over the past ~40 years, divorce rates have doubled: from 0.8 per 1,000 people in 1964 to 1.6 per 1,000 citizens in 2020. Countries with the highest divorce rate in Western Europe include Denmark (2.2), Luxembourg (2.2) and Sweden (2.3). The lowest divorce rates in the region can be found in Germany (1.7), the Netherlands (1.5), and Italy (1.4).
Eastern Europe is known as a pretty traditional region where family values are high. But does it translate into having the lowest divorce rate worldwide? Let’s see! Key divorce statistics in Eastern Europe indicate that the highest divorce rate is found in Ukraine with 3.2 divorces per 1,000 people (a slight increase of more than a decade from 2.7 divorces in 2010. The lowest divorce rates in Eastern Europe are found in Bulgaria (1.5), Slovenia (1.1) and Romania (1.4).
Asia as a region has a pretty uneven stance on divorce. Some Asian countries are very religious and conservative, causing women to get married early in life and stay married for as long as possible, downright making divorce illegal, in the Philippines. But does societal pressure and religious beliefs impact the number of divorced couples in the region?
Countries with the lowest divorce rates in Asia include Mongolia (1 per 1,000 citizens), Thailand (1.4), Japan (1.7), and Malaysia (1.8). The highest divorce rates are currently recorded in China (3.2), Kazakhstan (4.6), and South Korea (2.1).
Like Asia, South America is pretty religious and believes in family unity, which can potentially lead to lower divorce rates. However, Latin American women are also famous for their strong character, so they may not tolerate irreconcilable differences, financial strain, substance abuse, and domestic violence in favor of staying married. This is what we can assume, but what does the actual situation look like?
When looking at the statistics, it’s easy to see that Latin America boasts some of the lowest number of divorces per 1,000 people. Specifically, the highest divorce rates can be found in Cuba (3), Costa Rica (2.3), Dominican Republic (2.7), and Puerto Rico (4.7). The lowest crude divorce rates happen to be in Mexico (1.3), Venezuela (0.7), Colombia (0.7), Peru (0.5), and Chile (0.7).
Africa is a continent where married women have a special status in society. Marriage is an important rite of passage and people tend to take long-lasting marriage seriously, even persevering through a bad marriage and relationship breakdown in favor of maintaining their married status. And the divorce statistics readily indicate that. For example, Egypt has a divorce rate of 1.9, Algeria has 1.6 divorces per 1,000 people, and only 0.6 divorces per 1,000 citizens take place in South Africa. Nigeria has a surprisingly high marriage dissolution rate of 11 per 1,000 citizens, but that seems to be more of an exception.
Factors that Influence Country Divorce Rates
As you can see from global marriage and divorce statistics, the numbers can differ greatly, not just in different parts of the world, but within one continent or region. Just like marriage trends, divorce rates tend to be influenced by many different factors. These factors should not be confused with the reasons people cite when filing for divorce — factors are much less public but often much more influential. Here are the most significant factors that impact the average divorce rate of a country:
- Religious views — religious people are more likely to avoid divorce, while moral or religious differences can easily drive people to divorce.
- Cultural patterns — in countries where women are taught to be patient even in the face of extreme cases like domestic abuse, divorce rates tend to be much lower.
- Female empowerment — women who have a college education and a good job are not afraid of getting divorced and even of becoming single-parent families.
- Legal barriers — in countries where women face legal obstacles when they want to get a divorce, or where divorce is prohibited, the rates are obviously going to be lower.
- Financial reasons — some countries simply have expensive divorce conditions. When one of the parties faces the probability of having to pay high child and spousal support, they may reconsider getting divorced.
Views on divorce are one of the biggest population division factors. People in countries with the highest divorce rates are less likely to tolerate bad treatment in marriage, while citizens in countries where divorce is rare are more likely to persevere through relationship crises. This can give you an idea of where to look for a life partner if you’re ready to date outside of your own country, so we hope you found this article helpful.