The latest global Divorce statistics, facts & figures of 2022, including which countries have the highest divorce rates, the US's attitudes towards divorce & more.
Divorce is a difficult subject for everyone, and has been a point of contention for centuries across the globe. While divorce is now legal in all but two out of 195 countries, opinions on both divorces and divorcees remain mixed regardless of country or religion.
To find out more about opinions on divorce, we asked 2,001 adults in the United States how they feel about divorce and when they think it’s acceptable to get divorced. We also researched global divorce laws to find out just how difficult it is to get a divorce in each country.
Divorce statistics in a nutshell
Looking to skim through the survey real quick? Here are the main points:
- In 2022, Only 15% of adults in the USA believe that no-fault divorce is acceptable, and that divorce should be permitted without a serious reason.
- In direct contrast, a third of US adults (30%) believe that divorce should never be permitted.
- This response was given by 33% of 18-24 year olds, making young adults the age group least likely to support divorce.
- 12% more men than women believe that divorce is not okay in any circumstances.
- Japan had the most searches for the word ‘divorce’ worldwide in 2021, with 538 searches per 100,000 people.
- Argentina dropped from 103 to 43 searches per 100,000 people for ‘divorce’ between 2019 and 2020, the largest decrease worldwide that year.
- The Maldives has the highest divorce rate in the world, with 5.52 divorces per 1,000 people per year.
What we asked: our survey question
We used Google Surveys to ask 2,001 respondents across the US about their opinions about divorce in 2022. We collected data from the US as this tends to provide a good focal point for global comparisons. Our survey asked the following question:
Query: Which of the following statements do you most agree with? (Select only one)
- Marriage should be forever no matter what happens within the marriage - I don’t believe divorce is acceptable
- Divorce is acceptable but only if your spouse does something wrong (e.g. adultery, abuse, lying, crime etc)
- Divorce is acceptable if one party simply decides they no longer wish to be married - there is no serious reason required
- I do not believe in marriage at all
Attitudes towards divorce: How do US adults feel about divorce in 2022?
So how do US adults feel about divorce? Our data found that:
- Over half of US adults (52%) believe divorce is acceptable, but only 15% believe that you should be able to divorce without a serious reason.
- Nearly one third of respondents (30%) believe divorce is not okay in any circumstances, even when someone has wronged their spouse.
- As many as 1 in 10 US adults do not believe in marriage at all, and have no opinions about divorce.
Do men and women feel differently about divorce?
Historically, divorce has always affected men and women in different ways. This gap has steadily decreased over time, but does gender still affect opinions on divorce? To find out, we asked for the gender of our survey respondents.
- Just over a third of men believe that you should never get divorced (36%), while 1 in 4 women believe the same (24%).
- This means that a massive 12% more men than women believe that divorce is never okay.
- In contrast, 6% more women than men believe that you should be able to get a no-fault divorce (18%).
- 15% of men in the USA disagree with marriage altogether, while only 10% of women feel the same way.
- More men said that they do not believe in marriage (15%) than believe that divorcing without reason is okay (12%).
Do opinions on divorce differ between age groups?
Life experiences change with age, and so do people’s thoughts on the bigger decisions such as marriage and divorce. How much does age really affect opinions on divorce? In order to answer this question, we categorised respondents into age groups from 18-24 up to 65+.
- Older age groups showed greater support for divorce, with ages 65+ being 11% more likely to believe fault-based divorce is acceptable than ages 18-24.
- Only 1 in 20 US adults over the age of 65 said that they did not believe in marriage (5%).
- In direct contrast, nearly 1 in 5 adults aged 25-34 said that they did not believe in marriage (18%).
- Surprisingly, nearly a third of young adults aged between 18 and 24 believe that divorce is completely unacceptable (33%).
Which countries have the most interest in divorce?
To find out which countries have the most interest in divorce, we used Keyword Finder to find the number of searches for the word ‘divorce’ per country. In order to ensure the accuracy of our results, we translated ‘divorce’ into the main language spoken in each country. Wherever there were mixed results between languages, we opted for the language with the highest volume of searches. All of our search data shows searches per 100,000 people per year.
- The country with the most searches for ‘divorce’ worldwide was Japan, with 538 searches per 100,000 people in 2021.
- The United Kingdom had the second highest search rate with 510 searches, a massive 141 more than France.
- The Philippines were 10th on the list for searches for ‘divorce’ in 2021, despite remaining one of only two countries worldwide where divorce is illegal.
- Although Japan remains the country with the most searches globally, its search rate has consistently fallen from 2017 to 2021, showing a decrease of 200 searches per 100,000 people overall.
What impact did the pandemic have on divorces?
The pandemic had us all holed up at home with our partners. In some cases this has been a good thing, but it hasn’t always meant the best for our relationships. In order to find out how the pandemic has affected people’s interest in getting a divorce, we analysed global search data to see how search volumes for the term ‘divorce’ have changed in the last four years.
- Most countries experienced a small peak in divorce searches in 2020. The largest peak was in Mexico, which increased from 171 to 215 searches per 100,000 people between 2019 and 2020.
- The country with the greatest increase in searches between 2017 and 2021 was Saudi Arabia, with its search volume rising from 128 to 215.
- However, Saudi Arabia actually experienced a significant decrease in searches between 2019 and 2020, dropping from a rate of 160 to 108 at the start of the pandemic.
- Argentina experienced the largest drop in ‘divorce’ searches worldwide between 2019 and 2020, decreasing from 103 to 43 searches per 100,000 people.
- Despite this, searches in Argentina proceeded to increase from 43 to a massive 133 searches per 100,000 people between 2020 and 2021.
Which countries have the easiest divorce processes?
It’s never easy to go through the process of divorce, especially when children and property are involved in the decision. Different countries choose to handle divorce in many different ways, but almost all countries require a process that can take both money and time to complete. With that said, which countries can be said to have the easiest and simplest divorce processes?
To answer such a general question, we decided to assess several different factors at once. We collected data such as divorce rights per gender, whether or not a reason is required for divorce, and the period of separation required in order for a divorce to be granted. We used these factors to determine whether a country has a more or less difficult divorce procedure.
We found that the six countries with the simplest divorce procedures are:
- Norway. Norway operates a no-fault divorce system, meaning that no reason is required to request a divorce. The spouses must file for separation one year before getting divorced.
- Slovenia. Slovenia is one of the easiest countries in the world to file for divorce, due to its employment of a no-fault system, allowing couples to file for divorce without citing a reason they would need to prove.
- Mexico. Mexico allows three options for divorce, Necesario (contested), Voluntario (uncontested), and Administrativo (uncontested). While there are requirements for contested divorce, Mexico allows no-fault divorce as long as assets can be split by agreement.
- Spain. The only requirements for divorce in Spain are to have lived in Spain for 6 months, to have been married for 3 months, and to be a Spanish national. Spain operates a no-fault divorce system, meaning that there are no other requirements to get a divorce.
- Sweden. In Sweden, divorce is no-fault based. In cases of contested divorce, Sweden requires a reconsideration period of 6 months, rather than fault-based court proceedings.
- Argentina. In 2015, Argentina removed fault-based divorce proceedings in favour of a no-fault system. No reasons need to be presented in order for divorce to be considered for either contested or uncontested divorces.
The countries with the most complex divorce procedures are:
- Pakistan. In Pakistan, men can use talaq divorce to end their marriage by stating three times that they want to divorce. This process must be registered with the Union Council to be validated. Women cannot divorce without providing a listed reason and following the process through court.
- Sudan. Sudanese divorce law varies according to the religion of the couple. Sudan has three courts for divorce proceedings, one for Islamic couples, one for Christian, and one for Traditional. Consequently, divorce proceedings rely heavily on religious principles, and defining the law can be complex.
- Algeria. Algeria also uses the ‘talaq’ system of divorce. If women wish to divorce, they must either prove wrongdoing on the part of their husband, or they can choose to end the marriage through ‘khol’, a full repayment of the dowry.
- Egypt. Egypt also employs Islamic law in its divorce proceedings, allowing men to divorce without going to court. If women want a no-fault divorce, they must give up their rights to assets and make a repayment of the dowry.
- Jordan. Jordan allows women to file for divorce on the grounds that they can no longer live with their husbands. However, men are still permitted to divorce without court proceedings, and women must pay ‘khol’ to achieve a divorce.
There are only two countries worldwide where divorce is completely illegal: The Philippines and Vatican City. Both of these countries have a Roman Catholic majority. Historically, Roman Catholicism has always been strictly opposed to divorce, and does not acknowledge any divorce procedure other than annulment.
Which countries have the highest divorce rates globally?
To find out which countries have the highest divorce rates around the world, we used both United Nations data and World Population Review to find the number of divorces per 1,000 people per year in each country. Because not all countries have released up-to-date divorce statistics, we used the most recent information available regardless of the year it was released. In countries where no data was available, we left the information blank.
- The country with the highest yearly divorce rate is the Maldives with 5.52 divorces per 1000 people, more than double the global average of 1.69.
- Kazakhstan has the second highest number, with 4.6 divorces per 1,000 people per year.
- Despite this, six out of ten of the countries with the highest rates of divorce in the world are in Europe.
- Both Russia and China are among the top ten countries with the highest divorce rates worldwide, two of the most populated countries in the world.
- The two countries with the lowest divorce rates globally are Sri Lanka and Vietnam, both countries where the most popular religion is Buddhism.
More global facts, figures and statistics about divorce
Still looking for more? Here are some additional facts about marriage and divorce across the world:
- The Maldives had the highest divorce rate in the world from 2020 to 2021, according to census data.
- Whereas Sri Lanka has the lowest divorce rate worldwide that year, with a rate of 0.15 divorces per 1,000 people.
- In 1998, 37% of marriages in England and Wales that had lasted over twenty years ended in divorce.
- In 2018, the mean duration of marriages ending in divorce in the UK was 12.4 years, rising from 8.9 years in 1985.
- 234,795 marriages were conducted in England and Wales in 2018, including 6,925 same-sex marriages.
- In the US in 2019, the median age for first marriages was 30.3 in men and 28.4 in women.
- The countries with the highest divorce rates in the EU in 2019 were Latvia, Lithuania and Luxembourg.
We hope that our data has helped you gain some insight into divorce statistics over the course of the pandemic. If you’re interested in more information about divorce and family law, check out our wide selection of related articles via our website Advokatsmart.
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