10 US States With The Highest Divorce Rates

Divorce is a relatively common occurrence in the United States.
Divorce is a relatively common occurrence in the United States.

Divorce refers to the act of legally ending a marriage. In some countries, such as Russia, which has the world's highest divorce rate, 5 in every 1,000 couples get divorced. Below is an overview of the US states with the highest divorce rates.

Data from 2016 shows that Oklahoma is the state with the most divorces in the US. According to the data, every 4.4 people in 1,000 people end up divorcing their spouse. Nevada is in the second place with 4.3 while Wyoming is third with a rate of 4.2 people per every 1,000. The state of Texas is tied in the third position with the state of Wyoming. In the fifth position is Idaho with a rate of 4.0. Alabama is last on this list with 3.8. Even as a whole, the United States has some of the highest divorce rates in the world.


For a long time now, Oklahoma has been among the top states in the US that have the highest divorce rates. In fact, in 1999, Governor Frank Keating came up with an initiative to reduce the divorce rates in the state. However, the initiative was abandoned in 2002 after the leaders of the initiative deemed it unrealistic and unattainable. Among the main causes of divorce established by the initiative, poverty was at the top of the list. To combat this problem, the state allocated $70 million towards the goals. Despite all these efforts, Oklahoma still has these problems. In 1990, the state had its highest divorce rate of 7.7 divorces among every 1,000 couples.

One possible reason for the high divorce rate is the fact that it is relatively simple to get a divorce in Oklahoma. For example, the state has something known as an uncontested divorce. This situation is when both parties have agreed on all the matters concerning the divorce such as child support. In this case, getting a divorce is fairly straightforward. Another possibility for a marriage termination is if a couple files for divorce on the grounds of incompatibility.

In addition to the reasons above, it is possible that the high rates of divorce have been caused by the young age of people getting married. Data shows that there are plenty of couples that get married in their early twenties (20 – 22). This factor may be the reason why the levels of infidelity in the state are so high. According to data from the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey 2010, almost half (49%) of women and around 40% of men have been victimized or abused in marriage.


The state of Nevada is high on this list because of the famous city of Las Vegas. While the divorce rates have gone down considerably in recent times compared to the 1990s and early 2000s, the rate was still high in 2016. The most obvious reason why the city has some of the highest rates is the extremely high number of impulsive marriages. For this reason, the city has earned itself the nickname of the “Marriage Capital of the World.” Indeed, getting a marriage license is extremely easy and cheap compared to other states. Consequently, it is not unreasonable to assume that not all the marriages are wanted ones. As such, most people seek to terminate their marriages.

Another factor is also the ease with which a marriage can be terminated in the state. Since the 1930s, the state is popular among people wishing for a quick and relatively easy marriage termination. The law that made marriage easy was passed in 1931, which was also the same year that gambling was legalized. Essentially, the law allows any couple to get a divorce as long as they have lived in the state for at least six weeks. Under the law, there are nine grounds for the termination of a marriage. These grounds are impotency, conviction of a felony, adultery, neglect of a partner, insanity, desertion, extreme mental cruelty, and living apart for at least three years. In addition to all this, there is no waiting period for a couple after filing for a divorce. As soon as the court is available, the judge may issue a final judgment.


Although Arkansas makes the list of the states with the highest divorce rates, it is actually rather difficult to get a divorce in the state. For example, there is an 18-month period of living apart for the couple before getting the divorce. Should they start living together again, then the timeline begins afresh. A contributing factor of the high divorce rates would be the low levels of happiness. In fact, the state is among the least happy states in the US. In addition, most people end up getting married at a young age. Interestingly, the country also has some of the highest numbers of people who get married multiple times.

10 US States With The Highest Divorce Rates

RankUS StateDivorce rate per 1,000 of the population
9West Virginia3.8

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