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Census Bureau finds South has highest divorce rates

A Census Bureau report released Thursday found that men and women in the Southern United States have the highest rates of divorce in the country, while men and women in the Northeast have the lowest.

The report, titled “Marital Events of Americans: 2009,” found that in 2009, 10.2 men per 1,000 and 11.1 women per 1,000 in the South got divorced. By contrast, in the Northeast, the numbers per thousand for men and women were 7.2 and 7.5, respectively.

Overall, the national divorce rate was 9.2 for men and 9.7 for women.

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

The Census Bureau called the new report “the first of its kind to describe the detailed characteristics of marital events among Americans ages 15 and older.” The report used data from the 2009 American Community Survey.

In 2009, 14 states had divorce rates higher than the national average. Those included Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas. Nine states had divorce rates below the national average, among them Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.

The report also found that the national rates of marriage for men and women per thousand were 19.1 and 17.6, respectively. There were 3.5 instances of widowhood for men and 7.8 for women, per thousand people.

Additionally, the report found that divorce is often harder financially on women:

* Women who divorced in the past 12 months were more likely to receive public assistance than recently divorced men (23 percent and 15 percent).
* Women who divorced in the past 12 months reported less household income than recently divorced men. For example, 27 percent of women who divorced in the past 12 months had less than $25,000 in annual household income compared with 17 percent of recently divorced men.

Similarly, women who divorced in the past 12 months were more likely than recently divorced men to be in poverty (22 percent compared with 11 percent).

Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 08/27/2011 - 09:39 am.

    Of course, church membership is also highest in the South.

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