The divorce rate in Georgia is higher than the national average

Marriage – and divorce – in the United States today are significantly different from earlier times 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, which offered them the opportunity to achieve financial security and independence outside of marriage. Greater emphasis on post-secondary education and career development has resulted in young people waiting longer to marry. In the 1960s and 1970s, states began adopting no-fault divorce laws that made it easier to end a marriage. Meanwhile, changing social and cultural attitudes have led to couples increasingly living together, combining their finances and raising children before getting married – or not getting married at all.

These trends have led to a decline in the total number of marriages and delays in first marriages. There are currently only 6.5 marriages per 1,000 people each year in the U.S., compared to 10.9 five decades ago. For those who decide to marry, the age of first marriage is later. In the early 1970s, the average age of a first marriage in the United States was just 22. By 2018, this value had increased to 28.8 years.

These changes have also affected 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. From 1960 to 1980, the divorce rate per 1,000 people in the United States more than doubled from 2.2 to 5.2. But after 1980, the rate began to steadily decline, and as of 2018, the divorce rate had dropped to 2.9 per 1,000 people.

The relationship between divorce rates and age at first marriage has emerged over time, but also explains geographic differences in divorce rates. Today, most states with the lowest divorce rates also have higher median ages at marriage. States like New Jersey, New York, California and Massachusetts all have less than 10% of adults divorced and ages at first marriage over 30. The exception is Utah, which has the lowest overall average age of first marriage at 25.5, but also the third-lowest proportion of divorced adults at 9%, likely due in part to the state's strong religious ties to the Church of Jesus Christ of Saints the last days.

In contrast, Maine and Nevada lead all states in the share of the population currently divorced, at 13.9% and 13.8%, respectively. And on a local level, many of the cities with the highest divorce rates are in Florida, the Appalachians and the Southwest.

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 currently divorced. In the event of a tie, the location with the higher proportion of adults currently living apart 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 living apart: 2.1%
  • Percentage of Adults Currently Married: 46.8%
  • Percentage of Adults Who Never 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 living apart: 1.8%
  • Percentage of Adults Currently Married: 48.1%
  • Percentage of Adults Who Never Married: 33.5%

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

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