Divorce Statistics

For divorce statistics the divorce rate is the most relevant figure. Next to the divorce rate of all the OECD countries, we provide you with information on the number of marriages, the duration of the marriages and the average age of when people marry for the first time. All these factors influence the divorce rates.

The divorce rate in the United States has generally been going up until its peak in the late 1970s and has been slowly declining since that peak. In the most recent data, there were about 20 divorces for every 1,000 women over the age of 15. Two significant factors affecting the rising divorce rate are:

  • men and women are less in need of each other for economic survival, and
  • Birth control allow men and women to separate sexual activity from having children.

Before going to the divorce statistics graphs and the divorce statistics data tables, we give a brief summary of the conclusions we can draw from these divorce statistics.

Findings

Divorce rates

The divorce rate in divorce statistics is usually expressed as the number of ended marriages per 1000 inhabitants in a given year.

Divorce rates have been risen since 1970 for most of the countries.

The divorce statistics show that United States and Belgium have the highest divorce rates (=above 3). It is said that divorce rates in Belgium are that high due to social security system that benefits singles.

In Chile the divorce rate seems to be low in the divorce statistics. Chile introduced a divorce law only at the beginning of the 21th century. Before, it was not possible to divorce.

Marriages

The number of marriages per 1000 inhabitants declined since 1970. In some countries, the decline is relatively high (Portugal, Hungary), in others it is low. The decline in marriages is largely due to the fact that more and more people started to live together without getting married. After 1970 it became more and more socially accepted that couples live together without being married.

Duration of marriage

On average, the marriages last 10-15 years before they are dissolved. Only in Spain and Slovenia it is over 15 years.

The Divorce Statistics Graphs

Below, you can find the graphs and the corresponding data tables

Divorces by Country as a Percentage of Marriages in the Same Year

Data

The increase in crude divorce rates in all OECD countries, 1970 to 2008*

Graph
Data

The decline in marriage rates between 1970 and 2009*

Graph
Data

Mean duration of marriage to divorce, 1980 to 2008*

Graph
Data

Age at first marriage, year 2008*

Graph
Data

Divorces by Country as a Percentage of Marriages in the Same Year

Source: OECD Divorce Statistics

Country 1970 2009
Belgium 9.2% 75.7%
Hungary 23.5% 68.1%
Czech Republic 23.9% 65.8%
Estonia 35.2% 65.0%
Spain 0.0% 63.8%
Portugal 1.1% 63.2%
Latvia 45.2% 61.4%
Luxembourg 9.4% 57.3%
Austria 19.8% 56.6%
Bulgaria 13.9% 55.6%
United Kingdom 11.8% 54.2%
France 10.2% 52.9%
United States 33.0% 50.6%
Lithuania 23.1% 50.4%
Germany 17.6% 49.8%
Switzerland 13.2% 48.1%
Canada 15.9% 47.8%
Slovak Republic 10.1% 47.3%
Netherlands 8.4% 45.4%
Denmark 25.7% 45.2%
New Zealand 11.9% 44.9%
Finland 14.7% 44.7%
Sweden 29.7% 44.5%
Australia 13.1% 41.2%
Norway 11.9% 40.9%
Korea 4.3% 36.1%
Japan 9.0% 35.4%
Slovenia 13.3% 34.7%
Iceland 15.4% 32.9%
Israel 8.9% 30.1%
Cyprus 2.3% 27.2%
Poland 12.8% 25.9%
Greece 5.2% 25.6%
Italy 0.0% 22.4%
Turkey 15.5%
Ireland 0.0% 15.5%
Mexico 8.2% 13.0%
Chile 0.0% 7.0%

The increase in crude divorce rates in all OECD countries from 1970 to 2008*

Divorce Rates Graph

Note: * These divorce statistics data refer to 2007 for the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Japan, Greece, Ireland and Mexico; 2006 for the Unites States, France, Israel and Chile.

Source: OECD.

Data for The increase in crude divorce rates in all OECD countries from 1970 to 2008*





Rate in 1970 Change from 1970 to 2008 Rate in 2008*
United States 3.5 0.2 3.7
Belgium 0.7 2.6 3.3
Lithuania 2.2 0.9 3.1
Czech Republic 2.2 0.8 3.0
Latvia 4.6 -1.9 2.7
Denmark 1.9 0.8 2.7
Estonia 3.2 -0.6 2.6
Switzerland 1.0 1.6 2.6
Korea 0.4 2.2 2.6
Hungary 2.2 0.3 2.5
Finland 1.3 1.2 2.5
United Kingdom 1.0 1.4 2.4
Austria 1.4 1.0 2.4
Portugal 0.1 2.3 2.4
Spain 0.0 2.4 2.4
Germany 1.3 1.0 2.3
Slovak Republic 0.8 1.5 2.3
Sweden 1.6 0.7 2.3
New Zealand 1.1 1.2 2.3
Australia 1.0 1.3 2.3
Canada 1.4 0.8 2.2
France 0.8 1.3 2.1
Norway 0.9 1.2 2.1
Cyprus (1,2) 0.2 1.9 2.1
Japan 0.9 1.1 2.0
Luxembourg 0.6 1.4 2.0
Netherlands 0.8 1.2 2.0
Israel (3) 0.8 1.1 1.9
Bulgaria 1.2 0.7 1.9
Poland 1.1 0.6 1.7
Iceland 1.2 0.5 1.7
Turkey 0.3 1.1 1.4
Greece 0.4 0.8 1.2
Slovenia 1.1 0.0 1.1
Italy 0.0 0.9 0.9
Ireland 0.0 0.8 0.8
Mexico 0.6 0.1 0.7
Chile
0.2 0.2




The decline in marriage rates between 1970 and 2009*

Marriage Rates Graph

Note: * The divorce statistics data refer to 2008 for Cyprus, Iceland and Turkey; 2007 for the United States, Japan, New Zealand, Korea, the United Kingdom, Australia, Ireland, Mexico, Canada and EU27; 2006 for Israel and Chile.

1 Footnote by Turkey:  The divorce statistics with reference to Cyprus relates to the southern part of the Island. There is no single authority representing both Turkish and Greek Cypriot people on the Island. Turkey recognizes the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). Until a lasting and equitable solution is found within the context of United Nations, Turkey shall preserve its position concerning the Cyprus issue.

2 Footnote by all the European Union Member States of the OECD and the European Commission: The Republic of Cyprus is recognized by all members of the United Nations with the exception of Turkey. The information in this document relates to the area under the effective control of the Government of the Republic of Cyprus.

3 The divorce statistics for Israel are supplied by and under the responsibility of the relevant Israeli authorities. The use of such data by the OECD is without prejudice to the status of the Golan Heights, East Jerusalem and Israeli settlements in the West Bank under the terms of international law.

Data for The decline in marriage rates between 1970 and 2009*







1970 2009
Turkey
9.04
Cyprus (1,2) 8.61 7.71
United States 10.60 7.31
Korea 9.20 7.13
Poland 8.62 6.57
Israel 9.10 6.33
Lithuania 9.53 6.15
Denmark 7.38 5.97
Japan 10.00 5.71
Malta 7.85 5.69
Mexico 7.30 5.63
Finland 8.84 5.59
Australia 7.50 5.52
Switzerland 7.55 5.41
Iceland 7.78 5.17
Ireland 7.04 5.17
Sweden 5.38 5.17
Norway 7.58 5.13
New Zealand 9.23 5.08
OECD average 8.14 5.00
Slovak Republic 7.94 4.86
Greece 7.67 4.68
Germany 7.40 4.62
Canada 8.80 4.60
Czech Republic 9.19 4.56
United Kingdom 8.47 4.43
Netherlands 9.48 4.41
Latvia 10.17 4.40
Belgium 7.60 4.36
Austria 7.07 4.24
Italy 7.35 4.01
Estonia 9.08 4.00
France 7.75 3.97
Portugal 9.38 3.80
Spain 7.32 3.76
Hungary 9.35 3.67
Chile 7.00 3.54
Luxembourg 6.36 3.49
Bulgaria 8.61 3.42
Slovenia 8.28 3.17






Source: OECD

Age at first marriage, year 2008*

Age at First Marriage Graph

Note: * The divorce statistics data refer to 2007 for Italy and Belgium; 2006 for the United Kingdom and Ireland; 2003 for Canada and Mexico; 2002 for Spain and Cyprus.

3 Data refer to all marraige and not only the first for Mexico

Sources: OECD

Data for Age at first marriage, year 2008*




Age in completed years

Total Men Women
Switzerland 33.7 35.4 32.1
Sweden 33.4 34.9 32.0
Iceland 32.7 33.8 31.6
Denmark 32.7 33.8 31.5
Norway 32.3 33.7 30.9
Italy 31.2 32.6 29.9
Netherlands 31.1 32.4 29.7
France 31.0 32.1 30.0
Germany 30.9 32.4 29.5
Luxembourg 30.9 32.0 29.8
Finland 30.8 32.0 29.7
Austria 30.8 32.1 29.4
Ireland 30.7 31.6 29.9
United Kingdom 30.7 31.6 29.7
Greece 30.3 31.9 28.8
Belgium 29.6 30.8 28.4
Slovenia 29.6 30.8 28.3
Malta 29.1 30.2 28.0
Spain 28.8 29.8 27.9
Hungary 28.7 29.9 27.4
Canada 28.6 29.6 27.6
Czech Republic 28.4 29.8 27.1
Portugal 28.4 29.2 27.6
Cyprus (1,2) 27.9 29.2 26.6
Estonia 27.9 29.1 26.8
Slovak Republic 27.5 28.8 26.2
Bulgaria 27.1 28.8 25.5
Romania 27.0 28.6 25.4
Latvia 26.8 27.8 25.8
Mexico (3) 26.4 27.8 25.0
Poland 26.3 27.4 25.2
Lithuania 26.2 27.3 25.1

Mean duration of marriage to divorce, 1980 to 2008*

Mean Duration of Marriage Graph

Countries are ranked in descending order of mean duration from marriage to divorce in 2008

Note: * The divorce statistics data refer to 2007 for Italy, Belgium, Portugal, the United Kingdom and Greece; 2006 for France

1 and 2, see notes 1 and 2 for Chart SF3.1.A

Source: Eurostat (2010)

Data for Mean duration of marriage to divorce, 1960 to 2008*

Country 1960 1970 1980 5650 2000 2005 2008*
Italy

19.2 16.4
18.1 16.8
Slovenia


11.5 14.4 16.0 16.0
Spain



15.8 14.6 15.2
Bulgaria



11.7 14.6 14.9
Belgium
12.1 13.0 14.4 14.2 14.6 14.8
Slovak Republic



12.7 14.4 14.6
Portugal 17.0 13.5 14.4 13.9 14.3 14.1 14.5
Switzerland 10.9 10.8 11.8 11.9 12.7 14.0 14.4
Poland



12.5 14.4 14.3
Hungary



12.7 13.6 14.1
Netherlands 8.3 11.6 11.8 12.6 12.8 13.5 14.1
Czech Republic



12.2 13.7 14.0
Germany 9.0 8.6 10.3 11.7 12.8 13.5 14.0
Norway 11.5 11.4 12.5 13.4 13.2 13.5 13.6
Luxembourg 12.4 12.4 11.8 13.5 11.5 13.5 13.6
Latvia



12.2 12.9 13.6
Lithuania



12.5 13.5 13.5
France



14.8
13.3
Estonia



11.8 13.2 13.2
Finland 9.8 10.1 11.2 13.4 14.0 13.6 13.0
United Kingdom
12.1 11.8 11.3
13.9 13.0
Greece
12.0 13.6 11.9 12.6 12.1 12.5
Romania



9.9 11.5 12.2
Austria 9.3 8.5 9.9 10.1 11.6 11.6 12.1
Iceland
9.2 9.4 12.8 13.6 12.7 11.9
Sweden
12.0 12.6 12.5 12.5 12.5 11.5
Denmark 9.7 9.9 11.3 12.2 11.2 11.0 11.5
Cyprus (1,2)


8.8 10.2 10.9 10.9
Turkey





10.4
OECD average 10.9 11.0 12.3 12.7 13.0 13.7 13.6

By Reinier Bloem
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