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Divorce Facts and Statistics

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Divorce Facts and Statistics

When a married couple finds they have irreconcilable differences, sometimes the only reasonable option is divorce. In the United States, divorce is common and more or less socially accepted. Previous generations frowned upon a failed marriage, therefore divorce was infrequent. Even today, certain religious and cultural groups pressure their members to persevere through an unhappy marriage.
The Census Bureau, along with several other government agencies, publishes divorce facts and statistics that include national averages and various demographic data. In 2009, there were a total of 840,000 divorces and annulments across the United States. That equates to 3.5 divorces per 1,000 citizens. Thirty-eight percent of divorcees earned more than $75,000 per year. As far as educational attainment is concerned, a divorced person was unlikely to hold more than a bachelor's degree. Professional degree holders only accounted for about 10 percent of divorces.  
Perhaps surprisingly, the general trend in divorce rates has been down rather than up. The first decade of the twenty-first century has actually seen a gradual decline in the number of divorces. The year 2000 witnessed 4 out of every 1,000 people file for divorce or annulment. While that may not sound like significantly more than were seen in 2009, that ratio equates to an extra 100,000 people terminating their marriages than a decade later.
Looking at divorce facts and statistics on the state level reveals some interesting regional variations. The Northeast, for example, has some of the lowest divorce rates in the nation. New York had a divorce rate of only 2.6 persons out of 1,000. Both cultural differences and varying difficulty levels in obtaining a divorce may account for such regional differences. In contrast, the southern states had relatively high rates of divorce. However, Nevada takes the crown as the state with the highest divorce rate of all. The land of quickie marriages naturally encourages quickie divorces.
You can't discuss divorce facts and statistics without considering the suffering of children during a divorce. Custody battles are one of the most unpleasant side effects of divorce, and children often feel their loyalties tested as parents battle for their affections. It's a popular belief that children of divorce more frequently end up in the custody of their mothers, and the official divorce facts and statistics bear this out. Approximately three-quarters of custody disputes result in mothers begin granted primary custody.
These divorce facts and statistics really only scratch the surface of a complicated, emotional issue. For more information about divorce, please visit