Divorce Statistics by Religion

Audrey M. Jones

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), as of 2011, approximately 3.6 of every 1,000 people in the United States end in divorce. How these rates stack up against religious preferences might surprise you.

Catholic Divorce Rate

According to research by the Barna Group, Catholics had one of the lowest incidences of divorce, with 28 percent having been divorced out of 875 interviewed. The Gospel Coalition noted that there is a somewhat significant difference between those who are actively practicing Catholics and those who consider themselves nominally Catholic. The coalition found that nominal Catholics are five percent less likely to divorce than non-religious persons, while Catholics who are actively practicing in their parishes are 31 percent less likely to get divorced than non-religious persons.

Protestant Divorce Rate

The Barna Group's research found that Protestant individuals (anyone who identified themselves as non-Catholic, but Christian) had a divorce rate of approximately 34 percent out of a sampling of 1,997 individuals. The study was surprising in this regard, because out of all the adults interviewed (3792), the rate of divorce was 33 percent. However, the Gospel Coalition also found that active, conservative Protestants are 35 percent less likely to divorce than non-religious persons while non-active, conservative Protestants are 10 percent less likely to divorce than non-religious persons.

Muslim Divorce Rate

The most comprehensive study on divorce among Muslims was conducted in the 1990s by Dr. Ilyas Ba-Yunas, a professor of sociology at the State University of New York. According to his research, the divorce rate among American Muslims was slightly more than 31 percent. Top reasons for divorce among Muslims, cited by a later Sound Vision survey include pressures and issues with in-laws, adultery and haram sex, and incompatibility.

Jewish Divorce Rates

The most recent, available study on divorce statistics among those of Jewish faith are from the Barna group, which says that approximately 30 percent of those surveyed have been divorced. A 2013 article in Vos IZ Neias? reports that the divorce rate among members of the Orthodox Jewish faith is on the rise. The reasons for this, the article states, include a lack of comprehensive marriage education, mental health issues, and changes in society's values.

Mormon Divorce Rate

According to First Things, Mormon couples have the lowest divorce rate of any other large religious group. Adherents.com reports that, in marriages of which both parties are Mormon and the couple marries in the temple, the divorce rate is less than six percent for men and less than seven percent for women. However, Adherents.com also states that marriages in which only one partner is Mormon are more likely to end in divorce than other inter-faith marriages, with the exception of Jewish/non-Jewish couples.

Religion and Divorce Rates

The reasons for divorce for members of different religions vary. There appears to be a connection between strong adherence and practice of a traditional religious faith and a lower divorce rate.

Divorce Statistics by Religion