The COVID-19 pandemic is having a polarizing effect on all couples in Massachusetts. Many would say that quarantining together has brought them closer to their partner, while others would say they’ve had a much different experience. Recent American Family Survey data found the number of divorces dropped 11% from 2019 to 2020. Of the married couples surveyed, 65% said they appreciate their spouse more. Sixty percent said it deepened their commitment to their marriage. These encouraging statistics suggest that couples tend to stick together when times get tough.

Key findings:

  • Alaska, Maine and Iowa saw the largest decreases in divorces.
  • Divorces dropped 11% nationally the first year of the pandemic
  • Divorces declined an average of 21.2% nationally over the last 11 years.
  • Maine, Minnesota and Massachusetts have the largest increases in marriages.

In a recent study researchers wanted to find which states had seen the largest decreases in divorce over the last decade. The research team evaluated U.S. census data on marriage and divorce from 2009 to 2019. While analyzing relationship trends, we found that the majority of states (41 states) have seen a decline in divorce at an average rate of 10.7%.

Maine had by far the largest increase in marriages at 63.9% and it also had the second-largest decrease in divorces at 47.3% over the same time period. The national average for divorces decreased by an average of 21.2% from 2009 to 2019. We also found that only four states experienced an increase in divorce during that time. It is very possible that we will see these trends in divorce continue further into 2021.

Methodology

Analysts  reviewed U.S. Census data on marriage and divorce in the United States. The number of couples getting married and getting divorced were compared from 2009 to 2019 to find the rate change (increase or decrease) of marriage and divorce in each state. Each state was then ranked from 1 to 50, with 1 having the largest decrease in divorce and 50 having the smallest. Marriages were compared from 2009 to 2019 but not used as a ranking factor. Marriage figures in each state are based on a provisional count of marriages per 1,000 people.

Divorce and Marriage Rate Change 2009-2019

Rank State Divorce Rate Change Marriage Rate Change
1 Alaska -57.4% -28.3%
2 Maine -47.3% 63.9%
3 Iowa -41.7% -27.4%
4 Vermont -40.9% -18.8%
5 Alabama -34.5% -19.1%
6 Connecticut -33.6% -22.0%
7 South Dakota -32.6% -15.3%
8 Arizona -31.1% -17.9%
9 Rhode Island -30.5% -17.9%
10 Mississippi -30.4% -8.7%
11 Nebraska -29.6% -0.5%
12 West Virginia -28.8% -25.0%
13 Texas -27.7% -10.8%
14 Oregon -27.2% -9.9%
15 Louisiana -27.0% -19.9%
16 California -27.0% -11.4%
17 Tennessee -26.7% 0.6%
18 Washington -26.4% 3.0%
19 Oklahoma -26.2% -12.9%
20 Kentucky -25.2% -16.6%
21 Georgia -23.9% -15.2%
22 Virginia -22.5% -5.9%
23 Illinois -22.5% -3.1%
24 North Carolina -22.3% -16.8%
25 Montana -21.6% -17.0%
26 Michigan -20.4% 1.9%
27 Florida -18.2% 0.0%
28 Pennsylvania -17.6% 4.9%
29 Idaho -17.5% -24.7%
30 Nevada -17.1% -20.5%
31 Ohio -17.0% 3.2%
32 New York -16.4% -3.4%
33 Arkansas -16.4% -28.3%
34 Colorado -16.0% -5.0%
35 Indiana -15.9% -10.6%
36 South Carolina -15.4% -4.4%
37 Hawaii -15.4% -29.2%
38 Wisconsin -14.7% -5.6%
39 New Hampshire -14.6% -4.5%
40 Minnesota -14.1% 14.9%
41 Maryland -13.4% -3.1%
42 Utah -13.0% -22.5%
43 Missouri -12.5% -2.1%
44 Kansas -9.8% -12.5%
45 Massachusetts -8.6% 8.5%
46 Wyoming -6.5% -22.3%
47 New Mexico 1.0% -28.6%
48 North Dakota 3.6% -28.6%
49 New Jersey 5.0% 5.3%
50 Delaware 8.0% -44.0%
United States -10.7% -21.2%