Divorce season, which is typically considered to fall between January and mid-March, is nearing its end, and researchers are using this time to compare divorce rates. The 2017 American Community Survey questioned married individuals older than 15 about their marital status. According to the survey, the average national divorce rate is 11.67 divorces for every 1,000 married people. So, how does Georgia’s rate compare with those national numbers?
Georgia has one of the highest divorce rates, with only six states seeing more divorces than The Peach State. In Georgia, 14.11 people for every 1,000 married individuals are divorced. While that number may seem high, it still falls short of Arkansas, the state with the highest divorce rate. In Arkansas, 17.14 people for every 1,000 are divorced.
On the other end of the scale, some states are well below the national average. In New York, Vermont, Illinois, and New Jersey, there are just over nine people for every 1,000 that are divorced. In Hawaii, the state with the lowest divorce rate, that number drops to 7.67 for every thousand married people.
So, why is divorce so much more prevalent in states such as Georgia, which nearly doubles the divorce rate of Hawaii?
“Ironically, it is largely because we love marriage,” says David Marple of Marple Rubin Family Law, LLC. “States such as Illinois and New York also have lower marriage rates, with fewer people choosing to make things official. As such, their divorce rate reflects that. More people marry in states like Georgia and so, our divorce rate reflects that, too.”
A look at marriage rates confirms just that. Georgia has a marriage rate of 6.8 married people for every 1,000, while New Jersey’s falls below 5.43 married people for every 1,000. In New York and Illinois, fewer than 65 percent of people older than 15 are married.
In addition to Arkansas, other states with divorce rates higher than Georgia include Alabama, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Idaho, and West Virginia. Rhode Island, Minnesota, Montana, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania hover closer to the national average, all showing just over ten people for every 1,000 that are divorced.