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Top 10 States with the Highest Divorce Rates

By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on August 31, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Before you say "I do," maybe you should check whether or not you're living in one of the states with the most divorces. The Census Bureau recently released a study that shows which states have the highest divorce rates.

And, the leader for the most divorces? States in the South and the West, reports the AP.

So, which states were the "winners" in the recent study?

In order from highest to lowest divorce rates:

  • 1) Oklahoma
  • 2) Arkansas
  • 3) Alaska
  • 4) Alabama
  • 5) Kentucky
  • 6) Nevada
  • 7) Mississippi
  • 8) Georgia
  • 9) Tennessee
  • 10) Arizona

Southern states have a divorce rate of 10.2 per 1,000 men and 11.1 per 1,000 women, according to the Census Bureau. The national average is 9.2 for men and 9.7 for women.

All told, these statistics seem to make sense. Divorce rates are higher in the South because the South has a higher marriage rate. Divorce rates in the Northeast are lower because "first marriages tend to be delayed and the marriage rates are lower," says Diana Elliot, a family demographer at the Census Bureau.

Couples thinking about divorce should probably consider if it's the right option for them. After all, few people think about divorce during the glow of the engagement and pre-wedding planning.

Divorce can accomplish a lot of things besides just making you legally single again. For one, it can divide you and your spouse's property. And, once you divorce you may be able to get alimony or child support from your ex-spouse.

But, before you decide to divorce, you should consider some of the legal reasons to stay married. For example, divorce is expensive, and it may not guarantee an equitable division of assets, especially if you don't have a pre-nup.

Of course, these statistics don't mean that if you live in one of the states with the most divorces you'll end up splitting up. Even if you find yourself living in one of the states with the highest divorce rates, there's a good chance you'll still live out a happily married life.

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