Marriage is intended to be a lifelong commitment to another person, but the reality is many marriages end in divorce. According to the Census Bureau, 9.7% of males over 15 years old and 8.8% of females over 15 years old are divorced.
Myriad issues — including work stress, money troubles, and even personal changes over time — can lead to divorce. In an email to 24/7 Wall St., clinically trained New York City social worker and matrimonial attorney Debra Lynn Mechanick identified two factors that greatly contribute to divorce: finances and children. “When couples argue about finances or children, what they are really expressing is a fundamental shift in ideology by one or both spouses that strays from the common vision they once held together,” wrote Mechanick.
> Divorce rate: 12.3 per 1,000 married people
> Marriage rate: 13.2 1,000 people (14th lowest)
> Unemployment rate: 3.7% (10th lowest)
> Avg. wedding cost: $38,191 (3rd highest)
Married couples are more likely to stay together in Massachusetts than in any other state. Just 12.3 individuals per 1,000 married people divorced in 2016 in the state, possibly because it is a great environment for stable relationships.
Some 42.7% of the state’s adults hold a bachelor’s degree or higher, the highest percentage in the U.S. That likely contributes to the state’s high median household income of $75,297 a year. High incomes allow couples to focus on their marriage instead of money.
Anger and fear can diminish effective communication in a marriage, explained Mechanick. As a result, the couple develops problems that, over time, build up until they believe their issues are unsolvable. “At that point, the spouses believe that only the judicial system can help them reach a solution that is fair and equitable,” said Mechanick.
Divorce is a sad reality in every state in the country, but in some states divorce rates are higher than in others. There does not seem to be a regional component between the states with the highest and lowest divorce rates. However, median household income and the unemployment rate seem to affect the rate of divorce.
To identify the states with the highest rate of divorce, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed Census Bureau data on the number of people who divorced in 2016 and the number of married individuals in 2015. The divorce rate is defined as the number of people who divorced per every 1,000 married individuals.