Divorce Statistics Republicans vs. Democrats

Audrey M. Jones
Read more about divorce rates in the article, Divorce Statistics.

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


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.

Divorce Statistics Republicans vs. Democrats