The divorce rate in Georgia is higher than the national average

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Marriage – and divorce – in the United States today is very different from earlier periods in the country’s history.

A series of economic, legal, and social changes transformed marriage in the second half of the 20th century. In the post-World War II era, more women began working outside the home, offering them opportunities to be financially secure and independent outside of marriage. A greater emphasis on college degrees and career opportunities led young people to wait longer to marry. In the 1960s and '70s, states began enacting no-fault divorce laws that made it easier to end a marriage. At the same time, changing social and cultural attitudes have made it more common for couples to live together, combine their finances, and raise children before marrying—or not to marry at all.

These trends have led to a decline in the overall number of marriages and delays in first marriage. Currently, there are only 6.5 marriages per 1,000 people per year in the United States, compared to 10.9 five decades ago. For those who choose to marry, the age at first marriage is higher. As recently as the early 1970s, the average age at first marriage in the United States was just 22. By 2018, that number had risen to 28.8 years.

These changes also affect how likely married couples are to stay together. As women entered the workforce in the mid-20th century and feminism and the sexual revolution took hold, divorce rates rose rapidly in the 1960s and 1970s. Between 1960 and 1980, the divorce rate per 1,000 people in the United States doubled, from 2.2 to 5.2. After 1980, however, the rate began to decline steadily, reaching 2.9 per 1,000 people in 2018.

The link between divorce rates and age at first marriage has been confirmed over time, but it also explains geographic differences in divorce rates. Today, most of the states with the lowest divorce rates are also those with a higher average age of marriage. States such as New Jersey, New York, California, and Massachusetts stand out because they have fewer than 10% of adults divorced and the age of marriage above 30. One exception is Utah, which has the lowest average age of first marriage at 25.5 years, but also the third lowest proportion of adults divorced at 9%, likely due in part to the state's strong religious ties to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

In contrast, Maine and Nevada lead the way in the percentage of the population currently divorced, at 13.9% and 13.8%, respectively. And at the local level, many of the cities with the highest divorce rates are in Florida, Appalachia, and the Southwest.

The data used in this analysis comes from the U.S. Census Bureau's 2020 American Community Survey. To determine the places with the most divorces, researchers at calculated the percentage of adults who are currently divorced. In the event of a tie, the place with the higher percentage of adults currently separated was ranked higher.

The analysis found that in Georgia, 11.2% of adults are divorced, while another 2.1% are separated – compared to 10.8% and 1.8% of all American adults, respectively. Here is a summary of the data for Georgia:

  • Percentage of adults currently divorced: 11.2%
  • Percentage of adults currently separated: 2.1%
  • Percentage of adults currently married: 46.8%
  • Percentage of adults who have never been married: 34.5%

For reference, here are the statistics for the entire United States:

  • Percentage of adults currently divorced: 10.8%
  • Percentage of adults currently separated: 1.8%
  • Percentage of adults currently married: 48.1%
  • Percentage of adults who have never been married: 33.5%

For more information, detailed methodology and full results, see the original report on the website:

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