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Surprise, surprise. Divorce rates highest in South

by Josh K / August 24, 2011 11:02 PM PDT

So much for all that Red State "traditional marriage" stuff, unless "traditional" means married by 18 and divorced by 22.


(CNN) -- The South has the highest rate of divorce and the Northeast has the lowest, according to a new U.S. Census Bureau report.

In the report released Thursday, the Census Bureau based its findings on data collected by American Community Survey in 2009.

There were 10.2 divorces per 1,000 men in the South in 2009 and 11.1 per 1,000 women. This was more than that year's national average, which was
9.2 for men and 9.7 for women.

The Northeast rate is 7.2 per 1,000 for men and 7.5 per 1,000 for women, the study.

The reason for this may be as simple as the fact that more people get married in the South, a census official said.

"Divorce rates tend to be higher in the South because marriage rates are also
higher in the South," said Diana Elliott, a family demographer at the Census Bureau. "In contrast, in the Northeast, first marriages tend to be delayed and the marriage rates are lower, meaning there are also fewer divorces."

That was one thing that really shocked me when we lived in Tennessee in the mid '90s -- the number of girls in their early 20s who were already divorced and had kids.

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Might have been more meaningful many years ago
by Steven Haninger / August 24, 2011 11:08 PM PDT

but these statistics can only account for those who go through the legal processes and not those who don't. It does appear that, overall, people are marrying later but that doesn't mean they're acting like married couples later. Wink

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I'm from South, but live up North
by James Denison / August 25, 2011 12:40 AM PDT

Many Yankees from the North have moved to the South. Therefore such statistics don't surprise me.

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Nice try
by Josh K / August 25, 2011 12:55 AM PDT

But the statistics don't back that up, nor do my personal experiences. Those 20-year-old divorcees I knew weren't transplants from the north. My wife has family in central Louisiana, and the pattern is there as well, and all of those people have grown up there. There are women in their late 30s with grandchildren! When I first met some of the relatives I mistook one kid's grandmother for her mother, who I mistook for her older sister.

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we're breeding like rabbits!
by James Denison / August 25, 2011 1:06 AM PDT
In reply to: Nice try

Soon everywhere will just be "southerners". Wink

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That census analysis, Josh...
by J. Vega / August 25, 2011 3:40 AM PDT

Josh, that census analysis is based on 2009 data from the American Community Survey, which sampled 3 million households. It is the first to describe detailed information on marriages and divorces from this survey after the National Center for Health Statistics stopped collecting such data in 1996.
It would seem to me that an idea would to get both marriage and divorce statistics, and compare them, attempting to get a better idea of how many marriages end up in divorce.
I looked about and came up with the National Vital Statistics Reports, Vol. 58, No. 25, August 27,2010, which is later than 2009. Link to that report in .pdf format:

In that study, select List of Detaied Tables and look at Table 2, which is Provisional number of marriages and divorces:Each state and Puerto Rico, December 2008 and 2009, and cumulative figures 2007-2009.
Now, with each state, we can take the year 2009 and compare number of marriages to number of divorces and work out a percentage of marriages ending in divorce. We must bear in mind that a divorce comes after a marriage, but using the figures on that chart might give a pretty fair idea of the number of eventual divorces.
Bottom line, I ran a few states with my calculator and got percentage numbers of marriages and divorces:
Alabama - 45.93 percent
Arkansas - 94.45 percent
Mississippi - 15.67 percent
New York - 61.16 percent
New Jersey - 48.18 percent
Massachusetts - 65.32 percent
Maine - 43.64 percent

Just something I came up after looking for the basic data and then working with the numbers I found. I always like looking at the raw data when I see news report based on a study.

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That's another way of looking at it
by Josh K / August 25, 2011 4:00 AM PDT

The study I linked to does acknowledge that there are more divorces in the south because there are more marriages. People do tend to marry younger there, where people in the NE tend to wait longer.

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