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How common is divorce among your peers?

How many divorced couples do you know?  

  1. 1. How many divorced couples do you know?

    • 4 or fewer, socially conservative area
    • 4 or fewer, socially liberal area
    • 4 or fewer, socially moderate area
    • 5-9, socially conservative area
    • 5-9, socially liberal area
    • 5-9, socially moderate area
    • 10 or more, socially conservative area
    • 10 or more, socially liberal area
    • 10 or more, socially moderate area
    • Huh?

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I've been mulling over an interesting conversation I had with my cousin recently. He was commenting on how many couples he and his wife know who have divorced. As we were talking, I realized that of the families that I know reasonably well, including neighbors and my husband's work colleagues, none has divorced in the past 15 years. If I extend the net a little wider and include very casual acquaintances, I only know of 3 divorces, one of which happened before I met the people. That means in the last 15 years, only two couples I know have divorced. That was very much not my cousin's experience, and we started wondering why there's such a difference. We ended up pondering socio-economic level and how that might affect the rate of groups in socially conservative areas and in socially liberal areas. A 10-option poll can't really cover that, so just bear with what I could fit in, please!


I was curious to see what the Hive's experience was since it's my only connection to a large number of people from a wide variety of backgrounds!



For the purposes of the poll, just use your best judgment for how socially liberal your area is. If you live in a city where you mostly know Republicans, that's probably socially conservative for the poll. Likewise, if you know mostly Democrats or some other left-leaning party, then that's probably socially liberal. If you know lots of both in your area, then maybe that's socially moderate. :001_smile:

Edited by Sun
Had to edit because I ran out of poll options!
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Most of my peers have been married between 5-15 years. Divorce is not common at all.


:iagree: somewhat but I also know that often they are not on their first marriages either. Of my 4 closest friends 2 of the husbands have been married at least once previously. Of dh's friends from work that is often the case as well.

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Two of my high school friends have divorced, both within a year or two of getting married. One just remarried (2 years after the divorce). One college friend and two family members (cousins/siblings) have divorced. That is it for the people I am closest to.

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Hmmmm. My brother and my sister are divorced. My brother remarried and due to being willing to take a lot of verbal abuse and major unconscienable cr&p, he will remain married.


Of friends, divorce is not common. Amongst dh's colleagues, just about everyone has been divorced if they are American. Now, amongst his foreign born colleagues (about 30 people) divorce is virtually nil.



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Among my family & friends, I know of 3 in the past 15 years. 6 if I go back for my whole life. Those are all family save 1. Interestingly only one of my friends has divorced and that occurred before I knew her. I have never actually experienced a friend getting divorced (though I have family). Also, of those divorces, only maybe 2 are from relationships that had lasted more than 2 or 3 years already. Most were fast courtships, fast marriages, fast divorces. In two cases the couple went from first meeting to fully divorced in about a year. In another 2 cases there was abuse involved. The other two, I don't know much about because I was a very small child at the time.

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Of my closest friends none are/have been divorced. On the second tier, there's a couple of divorces. I put we are in a socially moderate area. I'm not exactly sure what you mean by that. Do you mean "socially conservative" but still relatively mainstream, or "socially conservative" like..... really conservative. KWIM? I don't want to step on toes here.

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Well, since I know people nationwide and worldwide I can't really comment on my particular area. It also depends WHICH social network you are referring to. My work environment had far more divorces than my church and homeschool environment. I can't just blankly say.

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Isn't this heavily dependent on how large your social circle is? I think a percentage of divorces/how many couples you know would give you a better idea. I do not have a lot of friends/know a lot of people.


Of my large family (which is not all in the same area) there have been 3 divorces (4 if you count my cousin's husband's divorces from the mother of his first 3 kids.) One was my Aunt and Uncle, one was my cousin and her cheating husband, and the other was my parents (dad was abusive and they're both in jail now.)


On my husband's tiny family, his sister was emotionally unfaithful and they divorced 2 years ago. At the same time my dear friend found out her husband was sleeping around and they separated (I don't know if they're officially divorced, but he's been engaged to at least two other women since she found out.)


That is actually a large percentage of my circle, even though it's a relatively small number.

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I can't really generalize because I know a lot of people in different "groups," but I don't personally associate staying in a bad marriage with being socially liberal. I know many conservative people who are divorced, and it's not because they are ignoring their religious or moral beliefs. (Not everyone who is conservative thinks divorce is forbidden.)

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I am taking peer group to mean people about my age, in similar financial circumstances, in my immediate area.


We easily know more than 10 divorced couples. After we hit around 15 years of marriage, they started dropping like flies. Our circles are mostly socially conservative.


But, I think there are some unique circumstances in the military. The active duty person works more as they advance, more is generally expected from spouses, the active duty person is already gone a lot so you get used to being on your own, life and death situations, *lots* of opportunities for things like counseling (so, if one won't go, then the other is particularly offended by that), living far from your support systems, etc.


For example, one of my friends had repeatedly asked her husband to go to counseling, to work less, to not volunteer to deploy, etc. He did not listen. When he was downrange, he had a heart attack. She asked for a divorce when she realized that she did not really care what happened to him any more. :( He seemed really torn up about the divorce, but he wasn't willing to really work on their relationship before that.

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SIL is divorced, but all of our friends are either married or never married. We're all in our 20's and early 30's. DH has three or four close work friends, who I *think* all on first marriages, and they are all in their early-to-mid 40's.


Now our parents and their peers? All of them have divorced at least once. That mid-life crisis is a doozy. :001_smile:


I live in a pretty moderate area.

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In my personal observation of families we know through homeschooling and church, the more conservative the family the more likely to divorce.


That doesn't seem like it would be true but from my small pool of anecdotal evidence religous/social conservative seems to go with divorce and children heading out and rarely coming home. :confused:


In interest of disclosure, I live in a highly conservative area and I identify myself as moderate with socially liberal leanings. :lol:

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I voted Huh? because none of the other answers really fit. We live in a socially conservative area, but the majority of our friends are socially liberal. While none have divorced since we've known them (and most have been married 15-20 years), they aren't all first marriages. That includes dh - I'm not his first wife, but we've been together 20 years and married for 18.

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I couldn't vote because while I know a lot of divorcees, they are generally older (around my parents' age). I don't know too many divorcees who are under the age of 40.


I can think of a few people who had rather impulsive first marriages at a very young age that didn't last. But the "7 year itch" type divorce that was so common back in the '70's and '80's seems fortunately to be rare these days. :)

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Of the people I know about half of them have been divorced. There seem to be alot of people divorcing at the moment amongst friends and friends of friends. I seem to be hearing about another marriage splitting up every week or two. This area is not particularly conservative.

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I have been married 25 years.

Many of our friends and family are suddenly getting divorced after 15-30 years of marriage. :001_huh: It has really been shocking. This past year, it seems like one marriage after another is ending.

We live in a socially conservative area, but our friends and family are scattered around the country and I don't know the demographics of those areas.

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I am taking peer group to mean people about my age, in similar financial circumstances, in my immediate area.


We easily know more than 10 divorced couples. After we hit around 15 years of marriage, they started dropping like flies. Our circles are mostly socially conservative.




I have been married 25 years.

Many of our friends and family are suddenly getting divorced after 15-30 years of marriage. :001_huh: It has really been shocking. This past year, it seems like one marriage after another is ending.

We live in a socially conservative area, but our friends and family are scattered around the country and I don't know the demographics of those areas.


This is my experience too!


I voted 5-9 but we are not friends with much more than that! Of the group we became friends with when our oldest two were little only one is still married (and for the wife it was her second marriage). Most of these divorces happened between 10-30+ years of marriage. A lot of them just in the last couple years as the kids move out. The most shocking, our most conservative friends a man my dh really looked up to as a godly Christian man left his wife for another woman about two years ago, they were married more than 25 years. Some were not so shocking. I was also shocked by my mom (she was a young widow so not previously divorced) who just brought home divorce papers to my step dad after 32 years, our neighbors just divorced after more than 30 years and yes it feels like were are the only ones not getting a divorce. I look at the families of my younger children's friends and wonder how many will be married after their children are grown. Most of these families divorce when their children are late teens or older and they were not the type that seemed to be staying together for the kids.:001_huh:

Edited by Happyhomemama
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This is hard to say. Everybody I know who married in their 20s had gotten divorced. I work with hundreds and hundreds of people who got divorced. The rate of divorces in second marriages is below average (50%), and the rate of divorce in marriages delayed (and these people usually had marriage-like arrangements in their 20s) is below 50%. These people are all over the map politically.

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Growing up, it was always difficult to tell. Those that were D&R (Divorced and Remarried) usually hid the fact that they had been married prior to their current marriage.


In the family, plenty, but mostly in my parents' and my generation (two of my sisters, my mother, my father multiple times, my stepmothers, my stepfather, one of my great grandparents, step aunts and step uncle all multiple times). Divorce is pretty much not in my vocabulary unless it's one of the three A's.


Around me, there are many people that are divorced or have just simply started families while choosing not to marry. One friend was married and divorced prior to her current marriage. Her children don't even know about it!


In some churches we've been in, Divorce was a strict taboo and Remarriage was absolutely forbidden.


So my experience has varied. I've lived in an area that was religiously liberal, but socially conservative and have lived in an area that was religiously conservative (or mixed), but socially liberal. Maybe we need a definition of liberal and conservative here.

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Divorce Statistics Republicans vs. DemocratsBy Audrey M. JonesAttorney




Divorce Statistics Republicans vs. Democrats


By Audrey M. JonesAttorney



Both sides of the aisle may be surprised to learn statistics behind the family-values oriented Republican party. According to a 2010 article by National Public Radio (NPR), "red" states (states that tend to vote Republican), have higher divorce rates than "blue" states (states that tend to vote Democratic). The article attributes this difference to the fact that women in "blue" states tend to wait longer to marry.


Divorce Statistics of Republicans vs. Democrats by State


By comparing an article by The Wall Street Journal that lists divorce rates by state, with NPR's interactive map that shows how states voted, it becomes evident that the states with the top five highest and lowest divorce rates voted republican and democrat, respectively.

States with Highest Divorce Rates State Divorce Rate (per 1,000 residents)


2008 Voting Record

Nevada 6.6 Republican

Arkansas 5.6 Republican

Wyoming 5.2 Republican

Idaho & West Virginia 5 Republican

Kentucky 4.6 Republican


States with Lowest Divorce Rates


State Divorce Rate (per 1,000 residents)

2008 Voting Record

Massachusetts 1.8 Democrat

Washington, D.C. 2.1 Democrat

Pennsylvania 2.5 Democrat

Iowa 2.5 Democrat

New York 2.5 Democrat


Statistical Interpretations


Although it is interesting that there is a correlation between divorce rates and a state's majority party affiliation, it is very difficult to pinpoint a specific reason for this relationship. In fact, there are probably many different factors that contribute to this association. Possible factors include:

Age of Marriage


A 2012 report by the Center for Disease Control states that between 2006 and 2010, the median age for first marriages for both men and women increased for the first time. The report states that the median age for first marriages for men is 28.3 and men 25.8.

The Population Reference Bureau provides a listing of the average age of women at the time of their first marriage. The seven states where statistics indicate that people marry the youngest are:



  • Idaho: 23.2

  • Utah: 23.3

  • Wyoming: 24.2

  • Arkansas: 24.3

  • Oklahoma: 24.4

  • Kentucky: 24.8

  • West Virginia: 25


Of these seven, four are also republic states with the highest rates of marriage in the U.S. Women in Nevada's have a median age of 25.6, not far from West Virginia's median age at the time of marriage.

The seven states with women with the oldest median ages at the time of marriage are:



  • Washington, D.C.: 29.7

  • Massachusetts: 28.5

  • New York: 28.4

  • Rhode Island: 28.2

  • New Jersey: 27.7

  • Connecticut: 27.6

  • Maryland: 27.3


Of these seven, three are democratic states with low divorce rates. Women in Pennsylvania have a median age of first marriage of 27.1, while those in Iowa typically marry when 25.4 years old.

Marriage Rate in the State


According to a 2010 report by the CDC, Nevada, Hawaii, Arkansas and Vermont have some of the highest rates of marriage per 1,000 residents. This same report shows that Mississippi, Delaware, Minnesota and Pennsylvania have low marriage rates.

Rates for Republican states with high divorce rates:



  • Nevada: 38.8

  • Arkansas: 10.8

  • Wyoming: 7.6

  • Idaho & West Virginia: 8.8 and 6.7, respectively

  • Kentucky: 7.4


Marriage rates in Democrat states with low divorce rates:



  • Massachusetts: 5.6

  • Washington, D.C.: 7.6

  • Pennsylvania: 5.3

  • Iowa: 6.9

  • New York: 6.5


Statistically, there are fewer marriages in democrat states than in republican states. The presence of more marriages allows for more divorces to occur.

The Future of Divorce Rates


The CDC states that, while divorce rates in the nation as a whole are increasing, the number of marriages is decreasing. Whether Republican-voting states have more divorces per 1,000 residents will likely be reevaluated after the 2012 elections.


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Thank you for that, Perry. I had heard that the divorce rate was down, but DH and I also noticed that fewer people are getting married, choosing rather to cohabit without marriage (and I have heard many reasons why from many different people).


I cohabitated with hubby until the marriage penalty tax was lifted (his sister called to tell me it was!) AND I lost the insurance for a domestic partner, and had one had to be, if a heterosexual couple, married. The two tipped my balance of risk, IMO. Since I would be the one to lose, financially, by marrying, I wanted something to balance that risk. Between the two above, and knowing hubby longer and realizing he didn't have the persistence to go after my money (and "my money" was money to provide for kiddo, in my mind), I was willing to marry again. So far so good.

Edited by kalanamak
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I have a hard time determining a "peer" group to compare. But, I live in an older neighborhood, with some people who have lived on the street over 50 years and some who just moved in. It is a fairly conservative area, but a broad cross-section of the population. Of those I know on my street, I count:




Women who are divorced-4

Single woman-1

Single man-1

Married couple in which both spouses have been previously married-2

Married couple-8 (of these, I do not know them all well enough to know if any have been previously divorced)

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Land o' liberals where I live and I am personal friends with 2 couples who have divorced. I know other divorced people- like 2 former coworkers who got divorced before I met them. I meet people who are divorced a fair bit. But statistically divorce is no more common here than in your run of the mill moderate or conservative area.


What may be different here is that I have a number of friends in their 30s and 40s who have never married.


Both of the divorces among friends were in the first 6-7 years and did not involve children. One was because they married planning to do things- like move to NYC that 1 spouse changed their mind about. The other was because he was a douchy prick. I had known them both forever and been her friend but when they got together and married I was very worried about her. She is about to remarry an actual nice guy.

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I live in a liberal area and know very few people who are divorced. No one in my family, none of my friends and none of my kids' good friends' parents are divorced. The only divorced people I know well, I met through an autism support group. The rate of divorce among parents of autistic children is really, really high, so single mothers were actually the majority in that group.

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We live in a pretty conservative area. DH and I married 15 years ago, around that time about 4 of our "couple" friends married, as well. They are all divorced now. I also know several other people, that we didn't know at that time/who married at other times, and they are divorced. Many of the young marriages here last a matter of months.


Every time one of our friends would tell DH that they were getting divorced, he would say "Well, we've last longer than _____." Kind of sad. Granted, most everyone said when they married "This won't last." Of course, I'm sure plenty of people thought that about DH and me.

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Me, Me, I'm divorced!

My (forever) husband is divorced.


So between the two of us, and our ex-spouses, that's 4.


And then if you look at friends, neighbors.... gosh, I'm up to 14 without trying.


Socially conservative area (military, and no, not just low ranking) but very difficult lifestyle to maintain a marriage. Ask me how I know. :glare:

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Liberal Portland Oregon



5 families on our street (past 5 years). One house in particular saw two divorces within a couple of years, and the couple who live there now seem like they are on shaky ground.

2 of dhs bffs (2 marriages for one, 4 for the other)

My sister didn't marry her boyfriend, but they were together for over 10 years before splitting it was just like a divorce so I would consider it one.

My brother from his first wife.

My parents were both married once before I was born (to other people) and they were close to it themselves before my dad died (separated)

My coworker is in the process

Both of dd13s best friends have parents who are divorced.



I could go on.....



Ironically, all of my closest friends are still married to their first spouse (as are dh and I).

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For dh and I our closest US friends have all been divorced. In the UK many people are just partners. You never know if they are actually married or not. We work really hard at not saying the wrong thing. I asked a good married friend once why some long term couples never marry here--the answer was because the government did not give you an incentive. I just about fell over! Americans marry frequently and our government certainally doesn't reward us! She couldn't beleive that in the US tax wise it is more expensive to be married etc.

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I voted as to the place I live now- socially conservative place, but it was the same in the sociallly liberal place. I hardly know anyone- why> Because according to Coming Apart a book by Charles Murray about the growing divide between the top classes of white Americans and the bottom classes, a fascinating but bleak read, white, well educated, successful Americans (he only studied white Americans in census reports and other statistical reports from 1960 to 2010), are still acting in significant ways like the average person acted in 1960, hence very small divorce rate, while the lowest, least educated and poorest whites, have completely collapsed as a social group and now have great rates of divorce and/or never married but having kids group. I mostly live in the nearly top group and have for years, even when we didn't have that much money, so I don;t personally know hardly anybody who has been divorced.

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