January 14, 2011

The Marrying — and Divorcing — Kind

7.4 and 3.7 per 1,000

Compared with most other western nations, the U.S. has one of the highest marriage rates as well as one of the highest divorce rates.

Compared with most other western nations, the U.S. has one of the highest marriage rates as well as one of the highest divorce rates. According to data compiled by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), there were more new marriages per 1,000 people in the U.S. in 2006 (7.4) than in any European Union (EU) country, with the exception of Cyprus, at a comparable time. In France and Italy, for example, just 4.2 new marriages were formed per 1,000 people in 2005, and the rate was even lower in the Eastern European countries of Hungary (4.1), Bulgaria (3.9) and Slovenia (3.2). Though divorce rates have leveled off in the U.S., it continues to lead much of the western world in this area as well. In the mid-2000s, the number of divorces per 1,000 people in the U.S. was considerably higher than the average for EU countries (3.7 vs. 2.1). The divorce rate was especially low in Italy, where there was less than 1 divorce per 1,000 people (0.8). France and Germany fell in the middle of the EU pack, with divorce rates of 2.2 and 2.3, respectively, while former Soviet republics Lithuania (3.4 divorces per 1,000 people) and Latvia (3.3) had the highest divorce rates. (To some degree, of course, lower divorce rates in Europe are a by-product of lower marriage rates). Read More